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.

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: Continuing to draft comments on proposals to UL 1973, the standard for batteries for use in stationary and motive auxiliary power applications, to address cell-level testing. The long-term objective is to harmonize energy storage fire testing between UL 1642, the standard for lithium batteries; UL 1973; UL 9540, the safety standard for energy storage systems and equipment; and UL 9540A, the fire test standard for battery energy storage systems. (Jan. 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: Mike Stone, NEMA

Vice Chair: Chris Jensen, UL

Current Activities: The Permitting, Zoning, & Planning Subcommittee is developing a document with guidelines for Authorities Having Jurisdiction to regulate the siting and installation of EV charging stations. The subcommittee launched a series of discussion meetings with breakout sessions. In October and December, the subcommittee met to discuss the structure and content of the draft guidance document. (Dec. 2022)

ICC Group B Proposals 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)

Vice Chair: Ben Davis, California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA)

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: Proposed 23 code changes in the Group B process for the 2024 edition of the International Codes. Preliminary results show that International Code Council voters accepted 18 of the proposals, including some with modifications. (Dec. 2022)

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: Recommended and won SEAC Steering Committee approval for a proposed educational project regarding Power Control Systems. Expects to start preparation for public inputs into the NEC 2026 cycle in early 2023. (Jan. 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: Completed the Qualified Persons and Renewable Energy Systems guidance document, which SEAC published in Jan. 2023. (Jan. 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: Darold Wiley, City of Hayward

Vice Chairs: Jeff Spies, Planet Plan Sets; Justin Baca, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

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: Recently reviewed the National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permitting and Inspection Guidelines and found that no changes are needed. Next quarterly meeting scheduled for Monday, Feb. 20. (Jan. 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: The working group’s proposal to modify the International Residential Code (IRC) to require a listed heat alarm for energy storage systems (ESS) and interconnection with smoke alarms within the dwelling was approved as submitted at the public comment hearing but disapproved by an online governmental consensus vote. In the future, the group will look to better define the rules for heat alarms in ESS locations in either the Fire Detection section of IRC R328 or the smoke alarm chapter R309. (Dec. 2022)

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: Preparing a document for what is needed to be storage ready as buildings are designed. The guide is intended for designers and owners to have an idea of the size and type of space to be reserved for future energy storage needs and equipment when not being installed at the time of construction. It will also assist designers and owners with what to look for when going into an existing structure to add energy storage. (Nov. 2022)

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: Brian Tollisen, New York State Department of State

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. (Nov. 2022)

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: Charles Picard, Tesla​

Vice Chair: Ben Davis, California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA)

Published Resources: Vehicle Impact (Feb. 2021)