Each state and community has its own set of codes and regulations that you will need to follow to add a small renewable energy system to your home or small business.
These regulations can affect the type of renewable energy system you are allowed to install and who installs it.
They can also affect whether you decide to connect your system to the electricity grid or use it in place of grid-supplied electricity as a stand-alone system.
A local renewable energy company or organization, your state energy office, or your local officials should be able to tell you about the requirements that apply in your community. If you want to connect your system to the electricity grid, these groups may also be able to help you navigate your power provider's grid-connection requirements.
Here are some of the state and community requirements you may encounter:
- Building codes
- Local covenants and ordinances
- Technology-specific requirements
- Building codes.
Electrical and building inspectors ensure that your system complies with standards.
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Building inspectors are interested in making sure the structure you are adding is safe. Your system may be required to pass electrical and/or plumbing inspections to comply with local building codes.
Many building code offices also require their zoning board to grant you a conditional-use permit or a variance from the existing code before they will issue you a building permit.
Check with your building code office before you buy a renewable energy system to learn about their specific inspection requirements.
You are most likely to gain the inspector's approval if you or your installer follow the National Electrical Code (NEC); install pre-engineered, packaged systems; properly brief the inspector on your installation; and include a complete set of plans as well as the diagrams that come with the system.
In addition, you should be sure your system is composed of certified equipment, and that it complies with local requirements and appropriate technical standards (the links at the bottom of the page provide more information on technical standards).