Peak practice

Steve Pester, BRE, previews the New Code of Practice for the PV Industry being published this summer.

The BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) has been working with the Institute of Engineering Technology (IET) to produce the ‘Code of Practice (COP) for Grid Connected Solar PV Systems’. The CoP is aimed at raising the quality of PV installations and covers all sizes of grid-connected systems, low and high voltage connections, building-integrated and ground-mounted formats.

The collaboration has involved many industry specialists, led by internationally recognised PV expert Martin Cotterell; the CoP is to be published by IET Standards – the IET’s first document specifically addressing solar PV. Aside from helping to improve the quality of UK installations, the CoP provides better alignment between UK practices and international standards. This is useful for enabling design and installation teams to extend their horizons to international work.

So, some of the headline topics in the CoP containing new or changed guidance are: new design requirements, updated installation practices, guidance on operation & maintenance, battery storage, ground mountings, lightning & surge protection and fire risk mitigation.

Within these topics there is new guidance for the industry, but there are also some areas of existing guidance that have been updated in the light of experience. These include: rules on mating of DC connectors, string fuse calculations, array frame earthing, earth fault alarms, etc. The CoP tends to go into greater depth within each subject area than previous guidance, thus providing a more comprehensive best practice guide for the whole PV industry.

At the present time, we understand that MCS will adopt the CoP as its central technical resource for the PV installation standard.

There will be be daily seminars on the CoP at this year’s Solar Energy UK exhibition in october and it is available to pre-order from: www.theiet.org/solar-pv