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Photovoltaic installation standards and certification

Photovoltaic installation standards and certification

In most cases, the applicable standard for photovoltaic (PV) systems is the National Electrical Code (NEC). Article 690 of the NEC deals specifically with PV system installations, covering wiring methods, overcurrent protection and disconnect provisions, grounding, and other issues. Generally, PV system installations must be inspected according to the requirements of the NEC, and inspectors generally look to see that listed equipment is used. Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) is one of a few organizations that provide safety listings for PV equipment. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has published a number of standards, recommended practices, and guidelines for PV systems and equipment, including IEEE 929, which outlines the basic operational and safety requirements for grid-connected PV systems.

The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) offers certifications and certificate programs geared toward renewable energy professionals throughout North America, including a certification program for solar electric installers. As of May 2009, 710 individuals have passed the NABCEP PV installer certification exam. The complete listing of NABCEP-certified solar PV installers can be viewed on the organization’s website (www.nabcep.org).