Steering Solar Codes and Standards Development for Market Success

Las Cruces, NM – March 1, 2010 – In February the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) Steering Committee met to identify the current high priority issues and develop the appropriate activities to support the development of codes and standards for photovoltaic (PV) systems. Solar ABCs work facilitates and accelerates the installation of high quality, safe photovoltaic (PV) systems and is conducted by a partnership of Universities, State and Municipal energy organizations, national and international codes and standards organizations, research organizations, and professional contractors. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funds Solar ABCs through a grant awarded to the New Mexico State University. The Steering Committee includes Arizona State University, BEW Engineering, Brooks Engineering, Florida State Energy Center, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New Mexico State University, North Carolina Solar Center, PowerMark Corporation, Sandia National Laboratories, Sunset, Underwriters Laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Prior to meeting in February, the Steering Committee collectively gathered a list of all the national and international PV codes and standards issues hindering the PV market. "The Steering Committee's goal is to represent the voice of PV stakeholders," said Mr. Larry Sherwood, Solar ABCs Project Administrator, "and they meet regularly to identify and develop plans to foster PV market success." Permitting, wind loads, interconnection and net metering, and fire safety were some of the subject areas in which the group identified as high priorities. Specifically, ground fault protection improvements, standards for PV and storage, connection of PV to the Smart Grid, and guidelines for utility inspections were a few of the high priority issues discussed as needing attention.

"The high priority areas identified in this meeting will be acted on in the coming year through planned collaborative study efforts, research panels, and white papers," said Mr. Larry Sherwood, Solar ABCs Project Administrator, "all of these planned efforts ultimately position the PV industry with codes and standards that foster accelerated market adoption." The Solar ABCs is a collaborative effort funded by the DOE that dedicates experts to transforming solar markets by improving building codes, utility interconnection procedures, and product standards, reliability, and safety, and is part of its overall strategy to reduce barriers to the adoption of solar technologies and to stimulate market growth. SThe Solar ABCs also provides access for PV manufacturers, sellers, buyers, users and regulators of a particular PV material, product, process or service to participate or fund PV codes and standards research studies to help foster the acceleration of the PV market.