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Listen Up: Let's Talk About Safe Solar Equipment

It's encouraging to see how much safer — and less expensive — solar equipment has become over the past dozen years. These improvements will continue as engineers and manufacturers collaborate with code officials. There is a vibrant interplay between new code requirements (such as arc fault detection or roof fire resistance) and new product engineers. Sitting at the intersection are organizations like the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs) and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

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IREC is known for identifying challenging issues related to clean energy, then bringing together the right team to produce practical solutions. The Solar America Board for Codes and Standards is a collaborative effort among experts to formally gather and prioritize input from the broad spectrum of solar photovoltaic stakeholders including policy makers, manufacturers, installers, and consumers resulting in coordinated recommendations to codes and standards making bodies for existing and new solar technologies. 

The projects that these groups have worked on recently will define the nature of future solar installations, including grounding of rooftop equipment, new fire classification of PV modules, and expedited permitting. My guest on this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is Larry Sherwood, VP and COO of IREC and Project Administrator for Solar ABCs. Please join me as we discuss the new standards for PV modules, racking and inverters that are coming into play this year.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
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