Greater than 315 clear vitality firms within the US have referred to as on the nation’s Worldwide Code Council (ICC) to reject a proposal from the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA) that might see photo voltaic tasks categorised as excessive threat constructions.
The proposed FEMA change to the 2024 Worldwide Constructing Code (S76-22) would require photo voltaic, storage and wind tasks to satisfy Danger Class 4 necessities (that are the case for hospitals, hearth and police stations), which means photo voltaic crops would must be constructed to face up to earthquakes, hurricanes and different pure disasters.
As a substitute, Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation (SEIA) has put forth a compromise proposal that features an “essential carve-out for photo voltaic tasks” to be designated as Danger Class 2.
Bettering grid resilience by way of strengthening venture builds is the aim of the proposed modifications however SEIA mentioned the proposals would truly scale back grid resilience as fewer tasks could be constructed underneath the proposed framework given the upper building prices.
“The acknowledged aim of FEMA’s proposal is elevated grid reliability, however if you needlessly make it tougher to construct resilient clear vitality, the apparent impact is a discount in reliability,” mentioned Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA, which not too long ago slammed the proposals as “a whole mess”.
The clear vitality firms wrote to ICC Governmental Member Voting Representatives to specific their “deep concern” across the proposals which they mentioned might “negatively influence the deployment of job-creating clear vitality tasks nationwide”.
“Proposal S76-22 is written by structural engineers, not grid reliability specialists with expertise within the core components of grid resiliency and the interplay of the facility producing facility and transmission and distribution techniques; each of that are unrelated to structural design,” learn the extremely essential letter, which might be considered here.
“Roughly 95% of large-scale ground-mounted PV services are designed, permitted, and inspected as threat class one,” the letter continued. “FEMA Proposal S76-22 would improve the chance class to 4, thereby rising required wind hundreds by roughly 33% and seismic and snow hundreds by roughly 50%.
“For hurricane-prone areas or areas with excessive snow hundreds, this implies tasks might be deemed economically unviable; primarily attributable to an absence of PV modules examined and rated for these larger hundreds and in addition for elevated tools wanted.”
The voting interval for ICC members runs from 17 October – 1 November.