Solar Done Right is leading the movement to advance the quality and safety of solar design and installations by having every set of solar plans reviewed using the Solar Done Right Best Practices Checklist.
Top 5 Reasons to Reject Solar Plans
Missing PE Stamp
The state of Florida now requires a PE Stamp, or an FSEC certification per FS 377.705(d).
Effective July 1, 2017, All solar energy systems manufactured or sold in the state must meet the standards established by the FSEC and shall display accepted results of approved performance tests in a manner prescribed by the FSEC, unless otherwise certified by an engineer licensed pursuant to Chapter 471 using the standards contained in the most recent version of the Florida Building code.
Not Site Specific Plans
There is nothing generic about a PV system. The FBC requires that the project be site specific, and the calculations be performed for that. The site-specific components include, wind speed, exposure category and risk category. They will also include module pressures and attachment spans. These cannot be generically assumed.
With the adoption of FBC 2020, there came a change in the number of wind zones on the roof of a residential structure. The number of roof zones changed from 3 (Zones 1, 2 and 3) to 7 (1, 1’ , 2e, 2r, 2n, 3e and 3r). The new wind zones also bought a change to the way the roof zones are set on a flat roof. The pressures per roof zone also increased with respect to wind speed.
This is the biggest change to come out of the code change. This differentiates the pressures experienced by the PV module based on its location in the array. The modules will now be separated into Edge, Exposed and Non-Exposed modules. Modules that are too close to the edge of the roof will be termed Edge modules. Modules that are more than a certain distance away from the edge of the roof will be termed exposed, and the rest will be non-exposed.
Clearance between mean roof surface and top of the module (h2)
For a module to be exposed
Free edge of the module to be at a distance greater than 0.5h
Free edge of the module to be at a distance greater than 4 ft of another array or module
For a module to be an edge module
If a module is within the 2(h2) boundary of the roof surface
Incorrect Attachment Spans and Loading
The spans between attachment are determined by the loading on the attachments. The loading on the attachments should not be greater than the maximum allowable strength of the attachments. This will limit the span of the rails between the attachments.