FEMA proposes change to constructing code that can enhance expense of ground-mounted solar

Oct 10, 2022 04:57 PM ET
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has actually issued countermeasures for a change to the 2024 International Building Code that can boost the prices and inspection requirements of ground-mounted solar projects.

FEMA has proposed increasing the risk classification for ground-mounted solar from danger classification I-- that includes structures that stand for a "low risk to human life in the event of failing," like storage centers as well as farming structures-- to category IV, which are "assigned as essential facilities and structures where loss of feature stands for a considerable risk to owners or customers," according to the IBC. Among the frameworks in group IV are first responder facilities, utilities and power-generating stations, which would certainly include PV solar.

SEIA argues that the leap in danger categories can enhance the product make-up of solar racking as well as modules necessary to satisfy that degree of assessment standards, hence increasing manufacturing and project prices. FEMA's proposition comes shortly after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, government regulations that includes long-sought renewals for solar investment tax credits and also new production tax credits indicated to strengthen domestic production.

"This is a gross overreach," wrote Abby Hopper, chief executive officer and also president of SEIA, in a blog post. "There is no extensive document of irreparable damages to solar arrays from greater seismic, wind or snow loads, as well as there is no justification for these overly challenging codes.

"In practice, this code adjustment will make most solar as well as storage projects as well costly to develop, which will weaken the grid and also stop tidy power advancement in its tracks-- all with no benefits to trustworthy electric service," she continued.

SEIA's reply to FEMA's proposition (IBC S76-22) requests that solar photovoltaic facilities are rather placed in threat group II (S79-22 as well as S81-22), which is made up of other low-risk frameworks. The organization argues that solar arrays pose little risk to individuals and remain to generate power through high weather condition events and also all-natural disasters.

SEIA is dealing with a letter to the International Council Code calling for the rejection of S76-22 and also approval of S79-22 and S81-22.

Solar Installers, Manufacturers