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Codes & Standards

Through the SEIA Codes & Standards Working Group, SEIA monitors and participates in the development of product standards and building codes in the solar industry.  Additionally, SEIA routinely collaborates with other stakeholders including Solar ABCs, Underwriters Laboratories, and the National Roofing Contractors Association to address relevant codes and standards in the industry.

The Solar America Board of Codes & Standards (Solar ABCs), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, maintains a list of codes and standards in development, and also coordinates studies and testing to respond to standard development.

Building Codes

As the solar industry continues its rapid growth, building codes have become increasingly important to the industry.

The majority of building codes in the U.S. are developed by the International Code Council, which develops model building codes which are then adopted, and potentially modified, by state regulatory bodies.  The ICC develops codes based on input from various stakeholders, including building code officials, product manufacturers, health and safety advocates, and industry representatives.  Other organizations develop codes to compliment the codes developed by the ICC, such as the National Electrical Code developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

SEIA has submitted comments during the development of several building codes, including the International Green Construction Code, the International Building Code, and the International Residential Code.   SEIA continues to monitor and participate in building code development, and coordinate efforts with other stakeholders.

Product Standards

In the solar industry, product standards serve to ensure safety and reliability of all components of a solar electric system.  Product standards, plus conformity assessment procedures, ensure all products meet a minimum threshold of safety, performance, and reliability.  The SEIA Codes & Standards Working Group monitors relevant product standards, and also participates in the development of product standards.

In the U.S., standardization activity is coordinated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which accredits Standard Developing Organizations (SDOs) and Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs).  There are several accredited SDOs developing product standards for the solar industry, including Underwriters Laboratories and the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.  Product standards are implemented either through federal or state regulation, or through building codes.  (Building codes are also adopted through state regulation.  See the Building Codes section for more information.)

The Solar America Board of Codes & Standards (Solar ABCs), funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, maintains a list of codes and standards in development, and also coordinates studies and testing to respond to standard development.  SEIA routinely collaborates with Solar ABCs through participation in testing and coordinated participation in code and standard development.

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