Solar America Board for Codes and Standards Releases: Understanding the CAL FIRE Solar Photovoltaic Installation Guideline

Las Cruces, NM – May 13, 2011 Today, the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) has released a new report, "Understanding the CAL FIRE Solar Photovoltaic Installation Guideline" that provides the context and background information for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's (CAL FIRE's) Solar Photovoltaic Installation Guideline (Guideline). This report provides information about how the CAL FIRE task force developed the Guideline and why task force members recommended that photovoltaic (PV) systems be designed and installed to accommodate firefighting operations.

The purpose of the Guideline is to help firefighters identify PV systems, protect electrical wiring, and safely access roofs for vertical ventilation operations during fire suppression activities" said Larry Sherwood, Solar ABCs Project Administrator. The Guideline includes guidance about clearly marking conduit and equipment; access, pathways, and smoke ventilation; and the location of DC conductors in both residential and commercial buildings. CAL FIRE's Office of the State Fire Marshal developed the guidelines for the construction of PV systems in California to address these risks. It therefore organized a task force of fire service and solar industry representatives, building officials, and codes and standards experts, which developed the Guideline.

Should be in May 2011, ICC published the 2012 version. This elevates the importance of the Guideline from a recommendation to a legally binding code, and makes the thorough understanding of the reasoning behind the Guideline even more important. In response to this new IFC code, the Solar ABCs report also provides an overview of each section of the Guideline, indicating the corresponding section of the IFC in parentheses, repeating the language from the Guideline in italics, and including clarifications in plain text.

About Solar ABCs

The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) is a collaborative effort among experts to formally gather and prioritize input from the broad spectrum of solar photovoltaic stakeholders including policy makers, manufacturers, installers, and consumers resulting in coordinated recommendations to codes and standards making bodies for existing and new solar technologies. The U.S. Department of Energy funds Solar ABCs as part of its commitment to facilitate widespread adoption of safe, reliable, and cost-effective solar technologies.

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Media contact: Mr. Larry Sherwood, 303-413-8028