Lately, these phrases have been entrance and heart for thousands and thousands of People. Between historic federal laws, intensifying pure disasters and rising electrical energy costs, the clear vitality transition is extra related and pressing than ever.
Nonetheless, a quiet storm is brewing that dangers undercutting American clear vitality and local weather progress.
A proposed change to the 2024 Worldwide Constructing Code would stymie clear vitality growth and sluggish our nation’s response to the local weather disaster. This misguided proposal by FEMA would elevate the structural “danger class” for ground-mounted photo voltaic installations, vitality storage techniques, and wind generators to the best stage attainable, on par with necessities for hospitals and fireplace stations.
This can be a gross overreach. There isn’t a prolonged report of irreparable harm to photo voltaic arrays from greater seismic, wind or snow masses, and there’s no justification for these overly burdensome codes.
In observe, this code change will make most photo voltaic and storage tasks too pricey to construct, which can weaken the grid and cease clear vitality growth in its tracks — all with none advantages to dependable electrical service.
Privately owned photo voltaic tasks are persistently permitted and inspected by way of native constructing departments utilizing the Worldwide Constructing Code, and there are already strict necessities in place for photo voltaic panels to withstand excessive winds and snow masses.
Photo voltaic and storage has a confirmed observe report supporting houses, companies and demanding infrastructure within the wake of energy outages and pure disasters. Simply this week, dozens of media shops reported a couple of neighborhood in Southwest Florida that endured the wrath of Hurricane Ian with no lack of energy due to its reliance on photo voltaic vitality.
Photo voltaic resilience isn’t remoted to hurricanes. A FERC report on the February 2021 blackouts in Texas discovered that even throughout record-breaking low temperatures, photo voltaic carried out as anticipated — remaining predictable, dependable and inexpensive.
Below the proposed code change, S76-22, builders might want to procure considerably extra materials to adjust to strict new necessities. There may be merely not sufficient out there metal and higher-rated photo voltaic PV modules to satisfy these proposed necessities. Some required elements merely don’t exist available in the market and setting unnecessarily rigorous codes won’t lead to extra dependable electrical energy.
This a lot is definite: The proposed code change is unworkable. In its present type, S76-22 would trigger a drastic spike in development prices, forcing the cancellation of dozens of gigawatts of fresh vitality tasks that help hundreds of jobs and that the US is counting on to spice up grid resiliency.
The chance to pending photo voltaic and storage tasks is so dire that over 200 of America’s main clear vitality builders have signed a letter instantly calling on the Worldwide Code Council’s voting members to reject the proposal and approve a set of compromise options — S79-22 and S81-22.
The Photo voltaic Power Industries Affiliation (SEIA) has put ahead these two proposals with an necessary carve-out for photo voltaic tasks to be designated as Danger Class 2. Whereas it nonetheless will increase the structural necessities for photo voltaic amenities, this framework takes an inexpensive strategy and can assist guarantee extra tasks get constructed.
Photo voltaic deployment will undoubtedly drop with out this carve-out, setting America backward on clear vitality, which is a key resolution to the intensifying pure disasters that carry us to this dilemma within the first place.
ICC voters should reject S76-22 and approve S79-22 and S81-22 to protect the promise of a sturdy and resilient clear vitality future.
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