March 9, 2022

Solar PV Systems: Job Aids for a Consistent Plan Review Process

Earn free CEUs as you practice reviewing an online solar PV plan application for code compliance. And download practical resources to help perform compliance checks.

Cities and states are installing solar PV to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals, improve resiliency, and create local jobs. Home and business owners are finding that solar PV makes good economic sense and improves the environment. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, as of 2021 there were more than 113 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity installed nationwide, enough to power 21.8 million homes. Much more solar is on the way!

When that application for a solar PV system comes across your desk, you will want to have a plan to efficiently and consistently review it for code compliance prior to issuing a permit. Go to to learn the primary plan review tasks and earn CEUs. You will find a 12-part series of free online courses designed to help you practice reviewing an online plan submission and verifying aspects for code compliance in the following areas:   

  1. Introduction
  2. Fire Safety
  3. Structural Attachments
  4. Weather Sealing
  5. Fire Classification
  6. Grounding/Bonding of Module-Rack
  7. Conductors — DC Size and Type
  8. Inverter AC output conductors and Overcurrent protection devices
  9. Bus Size of Panelboard
  10. Disconnecting Means
  11. Rapid Shutdown
  12. Microinverters

To responsibly issue a permit for a safe PV system, the most important aspect to consider is the accurate validation of the design. These courses provide a basic process that you can follow to ensure the validation of the most important aspects of reviewing the plan to validate the system design. If you are interested in learning about an instant online design validation tool, sign up for the SolarAPP+ courses on the same website. 

Additional Resources

Downloadable PDFs and links

  1. Basic Checklist — Plan Review Solar PV
  2. Basic Checklist — Field Inspection Solar PV
  3. Access Pathways and Setbacks Job Aid
  4. Example Calculations for Conductor Sizing
  5. Field Applied Labeling PV Systems Job Aid
  6. SolSmart National Simplified Residential PV and Energy Storage Permit Guidelines
  7. Photovoltaic Systems- Electrical Calculations (via IAEI Magazine)

Online courses

  1. Plan review series (12-part self-paced series)
  2. Inspecting a SolarAPP+ System (30-minute self-paced course)
  3. Photovoltaic Systems- Electrical Calculations (1-hour webinar via IAEI)

This material was developed by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). It is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Award Number DE-EE0009455 (“EMPOWERED”). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.