SEAC Working Groups

These working groups will work on solutions to priority issues that were identified through the gap survey SEAC conducted earlier this year as barriers to solar, energy storage, and other clean energy projects. 

 

A summary of the working groups is included below. Participation in working groups is open, so we encourage you to think about which of the groups you may want to get involved in. 

 

To be added to a working group, please email Michelle Barrett [michelleb (at) irecusa.org] with the name(s) of the working group(s) you would like to join. 

 

Storage Snapshot

Storage Heat Detectors

UL Standard 9540

Qualified Personnel

Vehicle Impact Protection

Standard, Efficient Permitting and Inspection

Solar Shade Structures

Unpermitted Structures and Other Outstanding Code Enforcement Issues

Storage Snapshot 

Problem: AHJs and installers are often unfamiliar with ESS requirements 

 

Working Group Charge: Review the comments received in the gap analysis and: 

  • Identify which issues are already addressed in current or coming codes and standards

  • For the issues addressed, recommend or develop fact sheets, white papers or other materials to educate on the issues.

  • For issues not addressed, recommend which issues the SEAC Steering Committee should appoint Working Groups to address. 

 

Working Group Vice-Chair: Marc Chupka, Energy Storage Association (ESA)

 

Storage Heat Detectors 

Problem: New codes require a heat detector in garages with ESS. There is confusion on what products are available, the requirements for installation, and which standards apply. 

 

Working Group Charge: Develop a recommendation for how AHJs and installers should address this problem in the short-term. 

 

Working Group Vice-Chair: Jeff Spies, Planet Plan Sets

 

UL Standard 9540 

Problem: Different AHJs and installers are interpreting the standard differently. Some products are having problems meeting the requirements of the standard. 

 

Working Group Charge: Investigate parts of the UL 9540 that are resulting in different interpretations and make recommendations on how to address the issues. 

 

Issues include (but are not limited to): 

  • Does the standard address all battery chemistries – in particular lead acid? 

  • How is ESS defined and how are inverters evaluated as part of the system? 

 

Working Group Vice-Chair: Chris Jensen, UL

 

Qualified Personnel 

Problem: There is a need for qualified personnel especially related to codes and standards for energy storage and solar systems. Qualified personnel includes installers, designers, inspectors, plan checkers, and other stakeholders involved in the permitting process.

Working Group Charge: Develop SEAC recommendations on how to respond to the problem. 

 

Items to Consider:

  • Why is this a problem? 

  • How do we define “qualified” for these professions? 

 

The solutions may vary: 

  • for each of the identified jobs

  • for residential, commercial or utility-scale installations 

 

Potential considerations: 

  • How to increase awareness of training resources

  • Is more training required?

  • Lack of standards for a minimum level of code knowledge

  • Credentialing and licensing requirements

  • Use of third-party inspectors and/or remote inspection

  • What workforce development is needed to create a larger pool of qualified professionals?

  • Will the recommendations make an impact on the problem?

  • Determine ways a lack of awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the codes, standards, and AHJ processes can be addressed

 

Working Group Vice-Chair: Evelyn Butler, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

 

Vehicle Impact Protection

Problem: The requirements for protection of storage systems from vehicle impact in garages are unclear. 

Working Group Charge: Develop recommendation(s) for how to address that problem. 

 

Items to Consider: 

  • What areas does this apply to? (What defines an “area subject to vehicle damage”?)

  • What are approved barriers to protect from vehicle damage?

 

Working Group Vice Chair: Benjamin Davis, California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA)

 

Standard, Efficient Permitting and Inspection

Problem: Many entities have developed or will develop standard permitting and inspection processes including on-line and automated systems.  Many AHJs do not know about these processes or don’t know how to evaluate the different processes.

 

Working Group Charge:

  • Establish criteria and best practices for standard permitting and inspection processes

  • Identify standard permit and inspection processes and indicate which criteria and best practice each process meets

  • Promote best practices and SEAC recommended guidelines through case studies, white papers, and other means.

 

Solar Shade Structures

Problem: Code requirements (especially fire) for solar shade structures are not clear.

 

Working Group Charge: Develop SEAC recommendations on how to respond to the problem. 


 

Unpermitted Structures and Other Outstanding Code Enforcement Issues

Problem: Unpermitted structures, expired building permits, or outstanding code enforcement issues lead to denial of solar permits

Working Group Charge: Develop recommendation on situations when issuing a solar permit may be justified despite other unresolved code enforcement issues.