SEAC working groups are open to all. Participation is an excellent way to get involved in SEAC’s efforts to facilitate the deployment and use of affordable, clean and renewable energy in a safe, efficient, and sustainable manner. 

Working groups develop solutions to priority issues that have been identified as barriers to solar, energy storage, and other types of clean energy projects.

To be added to a working group, please email Michelle Barrett [michelleb (at) irecusa.org] with the name(s) of the working group(s) you would like to join. 

Working groups present recommendations first to the SEAC General Assembly for review and approval and then to the SEAC Steering Committee to be ratified as official SEAC recommendations.

For more information, see this December 2020 presentation by SEAC Administrator Larry Sherwood. The working groups described below include some groups that SEAC has created since 2021.

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Challenge: As more building-integrated solar products enter the market for roofing, cladding, and fenestration, innovation introduces new challenges to compliance with existing codes and standards. The burden to sort through the requirements of hybrid products falls onto the counters of building departments. This gives rise to questions about which codes and standards apply, which trades and which licenses are qualified to pull permits and perform the work, what to look for at inspection, and more.

Scope: The BIPV working group will develop resources and training to support AHJs with current, credible information to efficiently and accurately assess plans, provide corrections, issue permits, and perform inspections. The group can also help identify gaps in codes and standards and help craft proposals that keep up with innovation.

Co-Chairs: John Taecker, UL Solutions, and Duncan Cleminshaw, GAF Energy

Current Activities: The SEAC Steering Committee approved the creation of the BIPV Working Group and selected John Taecker and Duncan Cleminshaw as co-chairs. (Feb. 2024)

Energy and Green Codes Working Group

Challenge: Codes do not function as separate, mutually exclusive disciplines. Projects must be permitted and inspected according to all relevant codes and standards. However, as new rounds of code updates require more sophisticated systems, the chances increase that conflicts will arise between different sets of codes.

Scope: Monitor codes and standards development for instances where one set of provisions may disagree with another. Help to harmonize requirements in different families of codes.

Chair: Joe Cain, Solar Energy Industries Association

Current Activities: The SEAC Steering Committee approved the creation of the Energy and Green Codes Working Group and selected Joe Cain as chair. (Jan. 2024)

ESS Standards Working Group

Challenge: Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and installers are interpreting energy storage system (ESS) standards differently. Some products are having problems meeting the requirements of particular standards. 

Scope: Investigate ESS Standards that are resulting in different interpretations and make recommendations on how to address the issues.

Chair: Zak Wellman, SimpliPhi Power, Inc

Vice Chair: Chris Jensen, UL

Published Resources: UL9540A Fire Test Standard for Battery Energy Storage Systems (Dec. 2022), Comments on Proposed Changes to UL 9540 for Energy Storage Systems (Nov. 2022), Comments on Proposals to UL 1973 Battery Safety Standard (July 2021)

Current Activities: Working on an informational brief on the UL 9540 safety standard for energy storage systems and equipment and the UL 9540A fire test standard. Exploring potential changes to 9540A to have it better provide the information AHJs need. Discussing what action may be needed to help change perceptions around ESS to differentiate them from small e-mobility and other consumer devices without the same protections. (July 2023)

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Working Group

Challenge: Enforcement of Electric Vehicle Charging installation requirements is inconsistent from one community to the next and requirements are often unclear. Jurisdiction approval is currently a major impediment to the timely deployment of EV charging stations to support the majority of automobile companies transitioning product lines to electric vehicles.

Scope: Identify jurisdictional approval issues for EV charging installations. Potential issues to consider include AHJs who automatically send plans for planning and zoning and best practices for EV charging. Develop recommendations for SEAC to consider, such as limiting permit reviews to electrical and building safety, developing criteria for what would trigger planning or zoning review, and issuing guidance on uniform permitting and inspection requirements.

Chair: TBD

Vice Chair: Chris Jensen, UL

Published Resources: Planning and Zoning Guidance for Electric Vehicle Charger Deployment (Aug. 2023)

Current Activities: Published a 68-page guidance document to inform Authorities Having Jurisdiction about common planning and zoning challenges and solutions for electric vehicle charger deployment. (Aug. 2023)

International Codes Working Group

Challenge: Make recommendations for the 2024 edition of the International Codes, a comprehensive set of model building safety codes. 

Scope: Develop SEAC proposals addressing electric vehicle charging, building-integrated photovoltaics, photovoltaics, and energy storage systems. Review and prepare positions on related proposals from others. Participate in Committee Action Hearings and Public Comment Hearings. And develop responses to comments received.

Co-Chairs: John Taecker, UL; Joe Cain, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Joe Cain, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Vice Chair: TBD

Published Resources: Initial Voting Results on 2024 International Code Proposals (Dec. 2022), SEAC ICC Group B Recommendations and Public Comments Update (Oct. 2022)

Current Activities: At SEAC’s General Meeting in May, working group chair John Taecker presented on changes to the ICC code development process that take effect during the 2027 code cycle. See our summary of the presentation for details. https://sustainableenergyaction.org/resources/icc-code-development-process-changes/ (July 2023)

National Electrical Code Working Group

Challenge: The National Electrical Code is currently being revised and needs input from knowledgeable experts on sustainable energy issues.

Scope: Develop public comments on the first draft of the 2023 National Electrical Code.

Chair: Jason Fisher, Solar Technical Consulting

Vice Chair: Pete Jackson, City of Bakersfield

Published Resources: Comment on Proposal for Section 705.20 (July 2021), Comment on Proposal for Section 705.1 (July 2021), Comment on Proposal for Article 231 (July 2021)

Current Activities: Considering 12 proposals for the 2026 edition of the National Electrical Code, including an exception to the energy storage system disconnecting means marking requirement in NEC 706.15(E)(4) that would exempt one- and two-family dwellings. Following discussion, the committee will decide which proposals to advance as SEAC proposals for the 2026 NEC development cycle. (July 2023)

Qualified Professionals Working Group

Challenge: There is a need for qualified personnel especially related to codes and standards for energy storage and solar systems. Qualified personnel includes installers, designers, inspectors, plan checkers, and other stakeholders involved in the permitting process.

Scope: Develop SEAC recommendations to help ensure that workers in renewable energy have sufficient qualifications. Consider issues such as defining what it means to be qualified for renewable energy professions, increasing training and awareness of available resources, standards for a minimum level of code knowledge, credentialing and licensing requirements, use of third-party inspectors and remote inspections, and expanding the pool of qualified professionals.

Chair: Mark Rodriguez, Sunrun

Vice Chair: Evelyn Butler, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Published Resources: Qualified Persons and Renewable Energy Systems (Jan. 2023)

Current Activities: Drafted a Google Form to record licensing requirements by state or jurisdiction for the National Solar Licensing Database update currently underway. Settled on a number of questions and fields that we think capture most requirements. (June 2023)

Solar Shade Structures Working Group

Challenge: Code requirements (especially fire) for solar shade structures are not clear.

Scope: Develop SEAC recommendations on how to respond to the problem. 

Chair: Joe Cain, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Vice Chair: John Taecker, UL

Published Resources: Elevated PV Support Structures (Feb. 2021)

Standard and Efficient Permitting and Inspection Working Group

Challenge: Many entities have developed or will develop standard permitting and inspection processes including online and automated systems. Many Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) do not know about these processes or don’t know how to evaluate the different processes.

Scope: Establish criteria and best practices for standard permitting and inspection processes. Identify standard permit and inspection processes. Indicate which criteria and best practice each process meets. Promote best practices and SEAC-recommended guidelines through case studies, white papers, and other means.

Chair: David Compaan, IGS Energy

Vice Chairs: Jeff Spies, Planet Plan Sets

Published Resources: Residential PV and Energy Storage Inspection Guidelines (Jan. 2022), Residential PV and Energy Storage Permit Guidelines (Oct. 2021), Rooftop-Mounted PV Panel Systems (Feb. 2021), Reinstallation of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems (Aug. 2019)

Current Activities: Reviewed the National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permitting and Inspection Guidelines and found that no changes are needed. Planning a promotional campaign to increase awareness about the guidelines. (June 2023)

Storage Fire Detection Working Group

Challenge: New codes require an interconnected heat detector in residential garages with ESS. There is no such thing as an interconnected “heat detector.” This was a code language error. SEAC recently proposed to update the Fire Code to “Heat Alarm.” There is confusion on when a listed solution might be available, the requirements for installation, and which standards apply. 

Scope: Develop a recommendation for how AHJs and installers should address this problem in the short term. 

Chair: Mark Rodriguez, Sunrun

Vice Chair: Jeff Spies, Planet Plan Sets

Published Resources: Heat Detectors in Garages with Energy Storage Systems (Feb. 2021)

Current Activities: Submitted public input to NFPA 855 to address alternate fire detection systems that comply with NFPA 72. (June 2023)

Storage Snapshot Working Group

Challenge: Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and installers are often unfamiliar with energy storage system (ESS) requirements.

Scope: Identify which issues are already addressed in current or upcoming codes and standards. Recommend or develop fact sheets, white papers or other educational materials. Recommend issues the SEAC steering committee should appoint SEAC working groups to address. 

Chair: Doug Harvey, County of Lucie

Vice Chair: Steve Jones, UL

Published Resources: NEC Disconnect Requirements for Energy Storage Systems (Nov. 2022), Residential Energy Storage Systems Under 2021 IRC (Nov. 2021), Residential Energy Storage Systems Under 2018 IRC (Nov. 2021)

Current Activities: At SEAC’s General Meeting in June, working group chair Doug Harvey presented on the Storage-Ready Concepts for Residential Design and Construction guidance document. The working group has completed development of the document and submitted it for approval by the SEAC Assembly. See our summary of the presentation for details. https://sustainableenergyaction.org/resources/energy-storage-ready-concepts-residential-design-construction/ (July 2023)

Unpermitted Structures Working Group

Challenge: Unpermitted structures, expired building permits, or outstanding code enforcement issues lead to denial of solar permits.

​Scope: Develop recommendation(s) on situations when issuing a solar permit may be justified despite other unresolved code enforcement issues.

Chair: TBD

Vice Chair: Steve Jones, UL

Published Resources: Permitting Solar on Properties with Unpermitted Structures (Nov. 2022)

Current Activities: Developing a new guide to address the maintenance and repair of solar systems and how to achieve code compliance. Will also start working on a new guidance document to standardize inspection procedures. (May 2023)

Vehicle Impact Protection Working Group

Challenge: The requirements for protection of storage systems from vehicle impact in garages are unclear. 

Scope: Develop recommendations for how to address that problem. Items to consider: What defines and area subject to vehicle damage? What are approved barriers to protect from vehicle damage?

Chair: TBD

Vice Chair: TBD

Published Resources: Vehicle Impact (Feb. 2021)