Clean Energy Permitting & Inspection
The permitting and inspection of clean energy systems, including solar PV and energy storage, is a critical part of the development process. Permitting and inspections help to ensure that installed systems are safe and of high quality. However, confusion about how to interpret particular codes can slow down the process, creating more work for local officials and project developers.
SEAC’s diverse membership, representing all clean energy stakeholders, works collaboratively to identify issues in existing codes like the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, and the International Residential Code. From there, SEAC’s expert members use a consensus process to develop practical solutions. SEAC actively participates in the code-making process to recommend solutions when code changes are needed.
SEAC also addresses related barriers, such as lack of awareness of code requirements or lack of educational resources that can help clarify code requirements.
This site houses many clean energy permitting and inspection resources.
- National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permit Guidelines help local governments develop an efficient and streamlined permit process for typical solar PV and storage projects, reducing unnecessary delays and cost while ensuring compliance with nationally recognized safety standards.
- National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Inspection Guidelines help local jurisdictions and contractors inspect simple photovoltaic (PV) system and energy storage system (ESS) installations where only a basic review is necessary.
- In Elevated PV Support Structures, SEAC encourages the International Code Council (ICC) to improve the clarity of code requirements in the 2021 International Building Code. The recommendation addresses overhead photovoltaic (PV) support structures, or solar shade structures, commonly built over vehicle parking spaces.
- In Rooftop-mounted PV Panel Systems, SEAC recommends that the ICC provide exceptions in the 2021 International Building Code. The intent is to clarify that elevated PV support structures can be installed on a multi-story parking garage under certain conditions without impacting restrictions on number of stories, height or area.
- The National Electrical Code (NEC) working group is contributing revisions to the NEC with a focus on sustainable energy issues. Some revisions may relate to solar energy. Resources include comments on NEC proposals for Article 231, Section 705.1, and Section 705.20.
- In Recommendations to Clarify Heat Detector Requirements in the International Fire Code, SEAC urges the ICC to improve the clarity of code requirements in the 2021 International Fire Code for heat detectors in garages with energy storage systems.
- In Comments on Proposals to UL 1973, Standard for Batteries for Use in Stationary, Vehicle Auxiliary Power and Light Electric Rail Applications, addresses differences in how authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) and installers are interpreting energy storage standards, and recommends how to resolve the issues.
- Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency At a March 2021 SEAC general meeting, Ryan Colker, Vice President of Innovation at the International Code Council explained changes to the code-making process for the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
- International Code Council Digital Codes is the largest provider of model codes, custom codes and standards used worldwide.
- List of National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Codes & Standards includes more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. NFPA codes and standards, administered by more than 250 Technical Committees comprising approximately 8,000 volunteers, are adopted and used throughout the world.
- UL Standards encompass UL’s extensive safety research and scientific expertise. With over a century of experience in the development of more than 1,500 Standards, UL is an accredited standards developer in the US and Canada.
- UL Standards At a January 2021 SEAC general meeting, UL’s Diana Pappas Jordan provided an update on UL standards.
- Fire Safety Research Institute research projects are scoped and executed to address real fire safety issues and deliver actionable insights that are put into practice to advance fire safety.
- SolarAPP+ is an automated permitting solution that helps cities and counties across the U.S. accelerate the transition to renewable energy resources.
- The Winter 2019 California Solar Permitting Guidebook, the guidebook’s fourth edition, addresses regulatory changes and new codes and standards, improves upon the recommended process for expedited permitting of solar PV systems, and adds information about solar water heating systems.