4-09-2015 NREL Releases Two Solar Best Practices Guides
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its two part Best Practices Guides last week.
The first guide, Best Practices in PV System Installation, covers contractor qualifications and installation best practices. The second guide, Best Practices in PV Systems Operations and Maintenance, is designed to give third-party owners an idea of the minimum requirements for solar PV maintenance.
The guides were written by the Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) working group. SAPC was created by the Energy Department’s NREL in October 2012. Since then, the group has grown to include over 450 leading solar developers, law firms, financiers and capital managers, and accounting and engineering firms.
The purpose of the Best Practices Guides is to make solar more investor-friendly by adding a layer of transparency in the installation and maintenance steps of PV rooftop solar.
Creating a More Standardized Solar Industry
There are few national guidelines governing the installation and maintenance of residential rooftop solar systems. The NREL’s Best Practices Guides offer a solution to the hodge podge of individual methods that exist in the solar industry. Moving towards more standardized installation and maintenance procedures makes solar more appealing to people. They’ll know what to expect if they want to install solar on another house.
As the solar industry becomes more standardized, it should be able to better streamline its processes. Streamlining, when done correctly, can help installers and providers reduce the time they spend installing and maintaining the systems. This can translate into lower costs and happier customers.
The installation guide briefly touches on contractor and provider guidelines, laying out the minimum qualifications that each person or organization should posses. For independent contractors, the guide stresses that adequate time in the solar industry is crucial.
Best Practices Guides Are Worth a Look
Both Best Practices Guides state that compliance with their suggestions is voluntary. However, the guides are well worth a look. Seasoned and new installers alike would benefit from the guidelines listed in the works.