Solar Educational Resources for Code Officials
The Solar Program is developing educational and training resources for code officials. With Solar Program funding, New Mexico State University (NMSU), Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), and members of the Solar Instructor Training Network are providing these resources.
Code officials and other personnel are responsible for ensuring compliance of electrical codes required by states, cities, and other authorities having jurisdiction. Code compliance is essential to the health and welfare of building occupants, system owners, solar technicians, electrical line workers, rooftop workers, and others who come in contact with these installations.
Training and Guidebooks
Training code officials in the specific applications of solar technologies reduces risks and helps expedite the permitting and installation process, saving money for customers, contractors, and local governments.
Funded by the Solar Program, NMSU increases awareness of codes and standards related to solar technologies. Experts at NMSU produced a guide, PV and NEC: Suggested Practices, which provides information to code officials and others on how the National Electrical Code (NEC) applies to photovoltaic systems. More information and a schedule of training workshops are available on the NMSU Website and at SolarABCS.
Solar Instructor Training Network
An important goal of the Solar Instructor Training Network will be to develop model curricula, training tools, and other best practices and make them available to a broad audience of code officials.
Training videos provide a tutorial of how the International Codes apply to solar domestic water heating systems. The videos were developed by the Florida Solar Energy Center, the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation, and Sandia National Laboratories.
The Solar Program developed "Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments" to assist local governments in designing and implementing a strategic, local solar plan. This section of the guide specifically provides information to city code officials.
Workshops and Conferences for Code Officials
New Mexico State University's Southwest Technology Development Institute provides training courses on the National Electric Code for code officials.
Workshops are given inspectors an introduction to solar thermal energy, including types of systems in the field, the Solar Rating Certification Corporation program, and safety and energy issues that need to be addressed during inspection. IREC is planning workshops for 2010, which are usually determined by the demand from Solar America Cities.
IREC sponsors workshops for code officials throughout the United States, in response to local demand. To date, hundreds of code officials have participated in these targeted workshops led by the top solar experts in the country.