January 16, 2024

Solar and Storage Conversations From the Field

Insights and experiences from solar PV, energy storage, and building and safety professionals, offering valuable lessons from the field.

As solar PV and energy storage installations surge across jurisdictions throughout the country, all stakeholders involved are responsible for ensuring that these systems are installed in a safe and code-compliant manner. The landscape of clean energy adoption is undergoing a profound and transformative shift, and this growth underscores the vital importance of a shared understanding and education among our authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) and clean energy practitioners. 

In late 2023, IREC gathered a panel of seasoned professionals to share their insights and experiences and describe what is really happening in the field of solar PV and battery energy storage systems (BESS). During this dynamic discussion, we explored critical aspects of safe installations, from system disconnects and labeling to roof setbacks and safety requirements for BESS. While not an exhaustive list, these topics represent critical components of safe installation where significant confusion remains. The candid conversation highlights the importance of continued communication and trust between the solar and energy storage industry and AHJs. 

As you listen in, you’ll gain a wealth of inspiring insights and knowledge which will enable you to better navigate the dynamic clean energy landscape and shape the future in your jurisdiction. It’s where expertise, collaboration, and innovation converge to redefine safety, sustainability, and progress.

Hear our expert panel:

  • Moderator: Pete Jackson, Chief Electrical Inspector, Bakersfield, California
  • Chief Angela Lawless, EMS Coordinator & Emergency Management Director, Maynard, Massachusetts Fire Department
  • Walter Latta, Assistant Fire Chief, Concord, Massachusetts Fire Department
  • Mark Baldassari, Director, Codes and Standards, Enphase Energy, Petaluma, California
  • Dave Compaan, Independent Solar Inspector, DC Solar Services, Central Ohio
  • Davis Fogerty (he/him), Residential Project Manager Namaste Solar, Denver, Colorado
  • Doug Harvey, Lead Regulatory Engineer, Codes and Regulatory Services, UL Solutions and Former Building Official, St. Lucie County, Florida
  • 00:00- 13:47- Panelist Introductions
  • 13:48- 26:32- System Disconnects
  • 26:33- 39:03- System Labeling
  • 39:04- 52:20- Energy Storage System Spacing & Location
  • 52:21- 59:56- Roof Setbacks and Access Pathways
  • 59:57- 1:03:53- Closing Remarks

Additional Resources

Energy Storage Systems (ESS)

  1. What’s New in UL 9540 Energy Storage Safety Standard, 3rd Edition
  2. Energy Storage Basics for AHJs and Beyond (Webinar recording)
  3. Code Corner: NFPA 855 ESS Unit Spacing Limitations — Mayfield Renewables
  4. 2023 NEC Updates for Energy Storage Systems — Mayfield Renewables
  5. Location. Code Interpretation 2022. (CA Office of the State Fire Marshal)
  6. Permitting/ plan review. UL 9540A 4thEdition Unit Level AHJ Checklist (UL)
  7. Recommended Fire Department Response to Energy Storage Systems (ESS) Part 1 (IAFC Bulletin)
  8. Guide: Energy Storage Systems: Based on the IBC®, IFC®, IRC® and NEC®

Disconnects

  1. PV Disconnect Placement per NEC 2017 Article 690.1 — Mayfield Renewables 
  2. Clarifying NEC Requirements of ESS Disconnecting Means – Sustainable Energy Action Committee  (9 page informational bulletin)

Labeling

  1. Review of NEC 2020 Code Revisions and Label changes for solar installers (Solar Builder Magazine)
  2. New NEC 2017 brings clarity to solar PV labeling (solarpowerworldonline.com)
  3. Building Inspector’s Guide – NEC 690 PV Labeling Requirements (www.hellermanntyton.us)

Training

  1. Permitting & inspection
  2. Fire service