SolarTech, a non-profit industry collaborative driving six initiatives to streamline the growth and acceleration of solar in the United States, announced recently the release of the first edition of a Microinverter and AC Module Application Guide. Existing codes and standards can be confusing as new disruptive technologies enter the existing construction world. This guide is targeted at installers, building officials, and fire officials to assist in the rapid adoption of these new technologies.

SolarTech is committed to reducing the balance of system soft costs by 50% by 2014 in time to meet the DOE's target cost goals of $0.40/W by 2017. GTM Research forecasts a $6.9 billion photovoltaic (PV) inverter market for 2011 with many emerging microinverter and AC module manufacturers poised to take a significant share of the market. Clearly these technologies will become significant players in the near future. Opportunities for improvements in permitting, inspection and utility interconnection processes will help lower overhead costs. This becomes even more important as these new technologies are introduced, which are also needed to meet overall system costs reductions, but unforeseen in the development of current electrical codes (NEC) and safety standards (UL 50, 1703, 1741). SolarTech’s announced application guide provides a one-stop source document enabling solar PV installers and building officials to make faster decisions from a common reference document.

"This application guide doesn’t try to invent or propose new standards," said Doug Eakin, solar business development manager for Weiland Electric and installation committee chair. “Leveraging the great existing body of work from the National Electrical Code and Underwriters Laboratory while consulting with inspectors within the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), the application guide explains the application of existing codes and standards to system installations taking advantage of new Microinverters and AC module technologies."

The authorship of the document was through several leading member company experts in SolarTech's committee process and reviewed by several influential nonmembers and building inspectors.

"This is a major high-value addition to our California Solar Challenge,” said Doug Payne, executive director and co-founder of SolarTech. “The Microinverter and AC Module Application Guide represents the kind of tool that can be developed when experts, who otherwise might compete, come together under the SolarTech umbrella to solve common problems. The industry needs more similar kinds of solutions in performance, interconnection and finance."

SolarTech will host a webinar on Wednesday October 5at 9:30 a.m PST to introduce and explore the benefits of the Microinverter and AC Module Application Guide. Visit www.solartech.org to register and obtain the necessary webinar login information.