Meeting local & national codes for solar installations

The popular and frequently referenced Model Inspection Checklist for Rooftop PV is now updated and expanded to include the latest national and international codes and safety insight for the rapidly expanding solar industry. Created by the independent Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), the resource provides basic guidelines for reviewing a building permit plan application and inspecting most residential rooftop PV systems.

In 2017, this document was identified in a national survey of code officials as one of the top five solar resources used in the course of their work. It includes solar-specific code requirements updated to the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) and the most current international building, residential, and fire codes. It is intended for authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) and others who provide plan review and inspection services, as well as for solar installers.

“Solar capacity has grown exponentially since the first model inspection checklist was released in 2013, as has the number of solar professionals,” says IREC Workforce Director Laure-Jeanne Davignon. “Best practices and guidance documents like these are increasingly important to ensure consumer confidence and consistent practices throughout the country.” The wide range of adopted codes across the U.S. make best practice guidelines, training, and consistency of paramount importance.

This resource can be used to create custom jurisdictional checklists with modifications to match specific state and local code requirements. The checklists can then be used by reviewers, inspectors and installers.

“Tools like IREC’s Model Inspection Guidelines are invaluable to support the work of building and electrical inspectors. By consulting this comprehensive guide to an effective solar inspection, individual inspectors and AHJs can tailor the tool to fit their needs in the office and in the field,” says Pete Jackson, chief electrical inspector for the town of Bakersfield, CA.

This is a valuable job aid for both new and experienced inspectors. Using a checklist can improve inspection consistency and help ensure high-quality, safe installations. A municipality may also use the guidelines to generate a “correction notice” for installers – that lists commonly occurring installation errors.

The International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and the International Code Council (ICC) contributed to the updating of this document, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“ICC is committed to helping our members contribute to the safety and resiliency of their local communities. Best practices documents and processes like the Model Inspection Checklist equips AHJs with powerful tools to support safe and effective solar installations for consumers in their communities,” adds Shawn Martin, International Code Council – Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.

For solar installers, this document can save time and resources. Using a checklist can help an installer address the AHJ’s concerns prior to inspection. The inspection guidelines can help educate and refresh installers about the number and variety of requirements that must be met for a code-compliant installation.

Plan Review and Inspection Guidelines: Model Inspection Checklist for Residential Rooftop PV can be downloaded free of charge by going to