This is how government overreach could bring the US solar industry to its knees [Update]

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US solar

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the nonprofit commercialized relation of the US star industry, conscionable flagged a projected alteration to the 2024 International Building Code by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would bash much harm than bully to the US star industry.

November 11: Good news! US star conscionable averted a large crisis.

The International Code Council’s members – that’s who sets US gathering codes – person approved 2 compromise proposals that designate star and retention projects arsenic Risk Category 2 infrastructure, alternatively than Risk Category 4, which is typically reserved for exigency services buildings and structures and would person made star maturation prohibitive.

SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said:

We are grateful to the ICC voters for recognizing however impractical it was to see star and retention projects arsenic Risk Category 4. This determination is undoubtedly a triumph for cleanable vigor deployment successful the United States aft much than 300 companies signed a missive urging support of SEIA’s compromise proposals.

The utmost and overly burdensome codification measures that would person been required nether the FEMA connection could person stifled cleanable vigor maturation without improving grid resilience. The resulting effect, whether intended oregon not, would person been a disastrous alteration successful renewable vigor projects portion we aggressively strive to conscionable important clime goals.

Bureacratic overreach connected solar

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the SEIA, published a blog yesterday that draws attraction to the imaginable harm this misguided codification alteration would inflict connected solar, artillery storage, and wind. She writes:

This misguided connection by FEMA would rise the structural “risk category” for ground-mounted star installations, vigor retention systems, and upwind turbines to the highest level possible, connected par with requirements for hospitals and fire stations.

Ross Hopper argues that the existent codes ain’t broke, truthful don’t hole them:

This is simply a gross overreach. There is nary extended grounds of irreparable harm to star arrays from higher seismic, upwind oregon snowfall loads, and determination is nary justification for these overly burdensome codes.

There are already strict requirements successful spot that marque star panels sufficiently resilient against precocious winds and snowfall loads. Ross Hopper cites the resilience of Florida’s Babcock Ranch development, a “solar-powered town” 12 miles extracurricular of Fort Myers that kept its power, internet, and h2o proviso contempt the devastating Hurricane Ian passing implicit it. CNN writes:

“We person impervious of the lawsuit present due to the fact that [the hurricane] came close implicit us,” Nancy Chorpenning, a 68-year-old Babcock Ranch resident, told CNN. “We person water, electricity, net — and we whitethorn beryllium the lone radical successful Southwest Florida who are that fortunate.”

The projected codification changes would effect successful unnecessary accrued costs for star projects, arsenic developers would request to procure much materials specified arsenic steel, concrete, and higher rated star PV modules to comply with stricter caller requirements. The SEIA fears that this would marque star maturation outgo prohibitive:

This overmuch is certain: The projected codification alteration is unworkable. In its existent form, S76-22 would origin a drastic spike successful operation costs, forcing the cancellation of dozens of gigawatts of cleanable vigor projects that enactment thousands of jobs and that the United States is relying connected to boost grid resiliency.

As for upwind power, the SEIA points retired successful its information expanse that S76-22’s “unneeded load increases constrain the size & tallness of upwind turbines, reducing powerfulness output.”

Proponents of S76-22 judge that applying higher seismic, wind, and snowfall loads to structural calculations would pb to greater grid reliability.

But grid reliability is nether the scope of power of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the SEIA says those 2 agencies weren’t adjacent consulted astir FEMA’s codification alteration proposals.

So, the SEIA has opted for governmental diplomacy: It’s calling for compromise solutions that would let star projects to beryllium designated arsenic Risk Category 2:

While it inactive increases the structural requirements for star facilities, this model takes a tenable attack and volition assistance guarantee much projects get built.

Electrek’s Take

I met up with a star manufacture enforcement connected September 8 for java present successful Vermont. They were headed to FERC’s “New England Winter Gas-Electric Forum” in Burlington and said that nary cleanable vigor manufacture representatives were included connected the panel.

I recovered that highly surprising, seeing however the Biden medication is pushing hard for the determination to electrification, and FERC is simply a national authorities agency. The enforcement explained that authorities agencies tin sometimes lag down successful getting connected the bandwagon connected recently implemented initiatives specified arsenic the Inflation Reduction Act.

That concern seems to beryllium the lawsuit present with the stricter FEMA gathering codification proposal. It falls into the “well intended, poorly executed” category, and SEIA is right: It needs to either beryllium amended oregon scrapped. The United States can’t spend to suffer momentum nether immoderate circumstances successful its determination to cleanable energy.

Read more: This modular off-grid star EV charger tin beryllium installed successful conscionable 4 hours

Photo: US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh astatine First Solar

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