Code officials are primarily responsible for enforcing structural, building, electrical, plumbing, fire, or other codes required by the local government. An organization that enforces the various relevant codes is often referred to as the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Solar systems that aren’t code-compliant could present a risk to building occupants, system owners, the public, solar technicians, and other contractors.
Local governments or AHJs generally require solar systems to be installed in a two-step process. Installers must first receive a permit from the local government to begin the project. Permits are issued based on approved information required by the local government, such as engineered designs, equipment specifications, and electrical or structural schematics. After the installation is completed, the code official inspects the system for compliance based on the information submitted in the permitting application.
Code officials are often unfamiliar with solar energy technologies, causing improperly installed systems to be approved when they should have been corrected. Inexperienced inspectors can also unnecessarily delay a project because they’re concerned that they might approve an installation that isn’t up to par. Fortunately, training can demystify solar systems, streamline the permitting and field inspection process, and help ensure safety. (Source
Free Online Training:
PV Online Training (PVOT) for Code Officials.
Expedited permitting and field inspection are covered in a series of modules, which both instruct and evaluate learning. The final “capstone” module simulates a virtual PV inspection. The course is eligible for .6 Continuing Education Credits through the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI.)
Permitting Best Practices and Models from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)
Solar ABCs: Codes and Standards