NEC Solar Codes

National Electrical Code
 
The codes are ever changing and it can be overwhelming.
below is great information from Solarpowerworld.com, providing helpful information on NEC solar code breakdown.
 
NEC 690 defines electrical safety requirements for PV systems.
 
Equipment grounding required: Exposed non-current-carrying metal parts of PV module frames, electrical equipment and conductor enclosures must be grounded.
 
Structure as equipment grounding conductor: Devices listed and identified for grounding the metal frames of solar modules or other equipment can bond exposed metal surfaces or other equipment to mounting structures. Metal mounting structures (other than building steel) used for grounding purposes should be identified as equipment-grounding conductors or have identified bonding jumpers or devices connected between the separate metal sections bonded to the grounding system.
 
PV mounting systems and devices: Devices and systems used for mounting PV modules that are also used to provide grounding of the module frames should be identified for the purpose of grounding solar panels.
 
Adjacent modules: Devices identified and listed for bonding the metal frames of PV modules can bond one panel to an adjacent one.
 
To ensure NEC requirements are met, one should follow the racking manufacturer’s torque specifications to tighten down all connection points. These connections provide the bonding and grounding for the system when assembled properly.
 
The UL listing of the racking system should be checked to make sure it has been tested and listed under UL 703 for the provision of bonding and grounding required within the codes.
It’s important to remember that all codes are written for protection from system failures that could risk life and property. National codes are not always adopted and enforced by all states or local jurisdictions, so solar installers should always research what exactly is required by each AHJ.
 
Learn more at solarpowerworld.com
June 03, 2021 — Emily Pine

Think before trashing: The second-hand solar market is booming!

Bellow is an article From EnergyBin, we thought this had a very interesting take on some the up-cycling opportunities for solar installers and wanted to share.
 
By Melissa Ann Schmidt- EnergyBin
Over the next five years, a growing number of U.S. solar owners and operators will choose to repower their systems. Total supply of decommissioned material will increase, but not all equipment is bound for recycling. Brokers engaged in the trade of used goods, particularly second-hand modules, are seeing more quality equipment uninstalled years prior to their end-of-life.
 
One online exchange has seen second-hand modules for resale as young as two years old. Demand for such material is booming, as resellers broker deals in the megawatt levels. Installers can also play a role in the circular economy by redirecting energy-producing decommissioned modules to the secondary market.
Repowering and decommissions increase second-hand supply The repowering trend is expected to spike this decade in the United States. The primary reason for repowering has to do with aging components. Wood Mackenzie expects 800 GWDC will be repowered between 2021 and 2025 due to inverters reaching the end of their 10-year lifespan.Credit: Duke Energy
Other reasons include upgrading technology and solar policy. Falling prices for bifacial and high-efficiency modules along with next generation microinverters and batteries are accelerating repowering. Additionally, renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandates may lead to repowering sooner than anticipated. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that roughly half of the country’s growth in renewable energy generation since the early 2000s is related to RPS requirements.
Beyond repowering, the industry is seeing a number of uninstalls taking place prior to system end-of-life. Sometimes a property with a rooftop or ground-mount is sold, and the new owner dismantles the array. Or, a building with an existing array is demolished. Other times, an array is partially destroyed by a natural disaster, but instead of replacing just the damaged components, the insurance company decides to replace all components.
“We’ve also heard from field operators about cases where panels are installed but never connected because deals fell through for some reason,” stated Renee Kuehl, sales and marketing director at EnergyBin, an online B2B exchange where PV professionals trade new and used wholesale solar equipment.
On EnergyBin’s trading platform, a growing percentage of second-hand modules are appearing for resale, some barely two years old. Kuehl noted it’s difficult to put a number on the total supply, but traded quantities tend to be in the megawatt range. She attributes the supply to non-residential and utility-scale repowering and decommissioning. “Within days after second-hand modules for sale are listed on our exchange, they tend to be purchased, which gives insight into the high demand for quality used modules,” she said. “If there wasn’t a strong demand, we wouldn’t see this material moving.”
What’s driving demand for second-hand modules? In the solar industry, resale of used panels is just beginning to take off. Some solar equipment brokers have realized the economic opportunity of remarketing decommissioned solar panels. Credit: PetersenDean
“Non-shattered panels always have someone who’s willing to buy them and put them back into use somewhere in the world,” explained Jay Granat, owner of Jay’s Energy Equipment, a wholesale solar brokerage firm. “If it’s a working solar panel, there’s always a buyer.” In his 10 years of experience working in the secondary solar market, he has never seen such high demand for used panels than in 2020, and he expects demand to increase through the decade.
A buyer’s market for second-hand panels spans throughout the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Afghanistan is currently the top market followed by Pakistan. Other major markets include Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia in Africa. Buyers in these areas aren’t so much concerned about purchasing modules with no warranty because they have enough sun radiation (two-times more than temperate climates) that affords them ample energy production from used panels.
“Any panel that is 10 years old or newer and ranges from 100 W to 350+ W has resale value,” Granat noted. “Buyers from developing nations like doing business with the U.S. because sellers tend to be honest and straight-forward. Plus, the module quality is usually in excellent condition and newer technology.”
Increased demand is driven by three economic factors.
First, consumers are concerned about grid reliability and are looking for ways to be self-sufficient, as is the case in regions prone to wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters and where grid infrastructure is vulnerable.
Second, international and national scares, like coronavirus, create spikes in demand for off-grid energy preparedness. Third, consumers with tight budgets are considering affordable alternatives.
As these drivers imply, the bulk of used panels are sold for off-grid solutions. They are installed for home energy, solar well-pumps, Wi-Fi sites, solar irrigation, battery charging and other uses. According to the World Bank, the off-grid market is a $1.75 billion sector. Additionally, second-hand modules are deployed as replacement parts, installed in small power grids/microgrids and purchased by price-conscious homeowners, businesses and non-profit organizations that want to generate renewable energy.
Buyer considerations Several considerations are taken into account when buyers are faced with the option to purchase second-hand modules. Such factors include age and efficiency level, price and condition.
According to NREL, the average degradation rate of a solar panel is less than 1% per year. This rate measures how efficiently sunlight is converted into power. Most manufacturers guarantee their panels will produce power at 80% or higher for the first 20 years. Credit: Kent State University
Second-hand module buyers rely on this rate as well to calculate the number of panels needed to achieve their desired energy output. Used panels that are between one and nine years of age still operate at high-efficiency rates but are cheaper in price. The average price ranges from 50-75% less than new modules. EnergyBin tends to see second-hand modules for resale starting at $0.10/W. The price depends on the age and efficiency level.
“You may think that non-transferable warranties may deter buyers from selecting used panels. But the lower price is more attractive for many buyers than a manufacturer’s warranty,” explained Kuehl.
A number of equipment resellers test used panels to guarantee product safety and verify amp and voltage performance levels. They reposition the product for sale in the secondary market, which may come with a limited-term service warranty. Some sellers offer a money-back guarantee based on a verified energy producing level.
Laid Sahraoui, owner of R3 Tech Limited, has also seen demand for second-hand modules increase in recent years. He commonly gets calls from buyers asking for 25 containers per order. Recently, he dealt with a large distributor in Texas on an acquisition of 25 MW. They were in “like new” condition but were decommissioned due to an insurance claim.
“We exported the panels to Karachi and then to northern Afghanistan. They were delivered to warehouses and sold in smaller quantities to villages and farmers,” he said. “Consumers in these markets have a need for sustainable energy. They are especially looking for ways to access energy and water to support agriculture and livestock.”
R3 Tech follows a strict practice to ensure decommissioned panels are properly sorted for resale or recycling. First, panels with broken glass are set aside for recycling. Those without broken glass are inspected for backsheet conditions. If the backsheet is falling apart, the panel is recycled because defective backsheets are fire hazards. The remaining panels undergo testing and then remarketed in the secondary market.
Working with a solar equipment broker Solar installers faced with decommissioning projects can partner with a solar equipment broker that has experience with second-hand equipment to properly handle used material. Brokers are connected to buyers throughout the world. They know what’s moving, what has resale value and how to price used components. They are well-versed in export/import requirements. They can also recommend what equipment is better suited for recycling. “As long as the panel still has at least 10 to 12 years of energy production and is functional, it has resale value. But rubbish goods are never acceptable for resale,” advised Sahraoui.
When brokers assess decommissioned equipment for resale value, they do everything from sorting to packing out for delivery to their warehouses and recycling facilities. Oftentimes, brokers will offer a cash buyout for the entire lot. They seek to ensure material is properly redirected to resale and recycling channels.
Both Sahraoui and Granat are committed to playing a role in the solar industry’s circular economy and see the secondary market as one way to reduce unnecessary waste. In other words, the resale of second-hand material prevents energy-producing modules from prematurely ending up in waste streams.
“What we really want field technicians to remember is that any panel that is not shattered or damaged is usable by someone somewhere in the world,” said Granat.
May 12, 2021 — Emily Pine

Solar Boom

We all know that the solar industry is expanding exponentially, but have you stopped to look at the numbers?
 
The solar industry now employed over 250,000 Americans and generating 36x more energy than it did a decade ago. Absolutely amazing!
 
We collected some data from SEIA that will show just how powerful the Solar industry has become.
 
 
As your companies meet the demand for solar installations, we got you covered to get all the code compliant solar labels, placards and signs to stay on schedule and pass inspections.
 
 
 
 
April 19, 2021 — Emily Pine
Why Shop with FCD Labels?

Why Shop with FCD Labels?

We know you have options for your code-compliant pv labels and placards, here is why you should work with us.
 
FAST
FCD Labels has the fastest turn around time for orders. We understand that inspections are a high stakes game and you need all the details to be correct and on time. We offer SAME DAY shipping on orders received by 3pm. Do not get stuck in a production line and miss your inspection.
 
KNOWLEDGEABLE
We have over 20 years of first hand experience in the electrical and solar world. We know the industry inside and out, far beyond the labels and placards. If you have questions about your project, we actually understand and will get you what you need.
 
CUSTOMER SERVICE
We want your order to be correct the first time, we are ready to answer your calls and emails immediately. Our customer care is never outsourced. And if there ever should be a problem we will make sure to make things right, quickly.
QUALITY
All our materials are high quality and code
compliant. Our labels, placards, and magnets are made to last and are guaranteed to withstand the all types weather for 7 years.
 
FCD Labels is an honest, fast and quality company. We are looking forward to working with you.
 
 
Veteran Owned + Family Operated
April 12, 2021 — Emily Pine

How long does solar equipment last?

We want to help provide you with any information we can to help your business thrive, or for our homeowners to make informed decisions.
Below is a great article from SunPower.com about the longevity of commercial solar panels.
 
Hope it helps!
Commercial Solar Panel Degradation: What You Should Know October 20th, 2020 Going Solar, Business & Government There are a number of important characteristics to consider when making a solar panel decision for your business. One of the most critical is understanding the degradation rate of the solar panels you’re evaluating, how it compares among manufacturers, and what impact solar panel degradation can have on your organization’s bottom line. But exactly what do the terms “degradation” and “degradation rate” mean—and how much should the degradation rate of your commercial solar panels factor into the decisions you make? Let’s take a quick look.
What is solar panel degradation and what does “degradation rate” mean? It might sound ominous, but “degradation” is just an industry term used to describe the decline in output that all solar panels experience over time. In fact, were he around today, Ben Franklin would no doubt have added solar panel degradation to his famously short list of life’s certainties. So, if you’re wondering, “Do solar panels degrade over time?”, the short answer is “Yes.” All solar panels degrade. But they don’t all degrade at the same rate—that’s what matters and warrants a closer look. In their first year of operation, panels typically undergo short-term degradation ranging from less than 1% to 3%. After that, according to a recent study, solar panel performance declines by an average of 0.8% to 0.9% each year. For example, if a panel’s first-year, short-term degradation was 2%, it would be operating at 98% efficiency going into year two. From that point, assuming it degrades at 0.8% per year thereafter, it would still be operating at 78.8% efficiency in year 25 (see table). Now, you’re probably wondering, “How long do solar panels last anyway?” That's a good question. Comprehensive testing done by commercial solar panel manufacturers suggests that the lifespan of solar panels is somewhere between 25 to 40 years, depending on the manufacturer. That doesn’t mean panels stop working or generating electricity after that time. It simply means their energy production has declined to a point beyond what manufacturers refer to as a panel’s “useful life.”
What impact can commercial solar degradation rates have on your business? We’ve seen how an average solar panel would degrade. But what if you’re considering a panel that degrades more quickly, perhaps at a rate of 1.0% each year—or more slowly, such as a rate of just 0.25% each year? Is that a big difference? It definitely can be. The fact is, those six- or seven-tenths of a percentage point in degradation rate could add up to thousands of kilowatt-hours of energy lost every year, depending on the number of panels and how long they’ve been generating electricity. That means you could end up spending money by having to draw power from the grid, rather than from your installed solar panels. For a large commercial installation, that could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars over the system’s lifetime. That’s why it’s important to consider whether it would make better long-term financial sense to save upfront on lower-quality panels with a higher degradation rate, or invest in higher-quality (and potentially more expensive) panels that degrade more slowly. You should always compare the potential cost savings upfront as you evaluate your options. The difference in degradation rate can translate into a significant amount of money over the next 10, 15 or 25+ years.
Causes of solar panel degradation—and how to keep the rate as low as possible In general, solar panels are extremely durable and built to withstand high winds and heavy snow loads. That said, keeping an eye on your commercial solar panel system—and making sure it’s well-maintained—could lead to a lower degradation rate each year and more output over the long term. Here’s a look at what causes solar panel degradation and a few tips for keeping the rate low:
  • Depending on the quality of your panels’ materials, the more extreme the weather conditions they’re exposed to (e.g., high winds and humidity, scorching rooftop temperatures, annual freeze/thaw cycles), the faster they might degrade. If your panels will be installed in an environment where weather could be a factor, ask about ways they could be protected from the elements.
  • Check your panels annually for physical damage, such as trees or bushes blowing in the wind and creating scratches. The more surface scratches on your panels, the faster they degrade. The placement of your solar panels—such as ground, rooftop or carport installations—can also impact how quickly your panels degrade.
  • While not always necessary, cleaning your panels can also play an important role in making sure they don’t degrade at a higher rate than expected. Monitor changes in the power output of your solar panels before and after cleaning, as well as over different time intervals. Take notes and evaluate what works. You might find that the costs of cleaning may, in fact, be greater than the costs associated with a lower degradation rate.
Key takeaways about commercial solar degradation rates As you compare commercial solar panels for your organization, here are some important points about degradation:
  • Understand the degradation rate of the panels you’re considering, as well as what that decrease in energy output would mean in lost power—and dollars and cents—over the life of the panels.
  • Assess the financial impact of choosing a panel with lower upfront cost but a higher degradation rate versus a panel with higher upfront cost but a lower degradation rate. The providers you’re considering should be able to give you a cost-savings analysis over 10, 15 and 25 years.
  • Find out what steps your provider recommends in terms of placement, ongoing inspections, cleaning and maintenance to keep your solar panel degradation rate as low as possible.
It’s a certainty that all solar panels will degrade over time. However, conducting some thorough research upfront—and asking the right types of questions—can help you make the best commercial solar panel choice for your organization over the long term.

ABOUT US

Thank You for visiting our page.

We are a veteran and family owned shop that specializes in creating vibrant, high-quality and professional solar labels. Everything is American-made and created in-house. We can create anything from placards, magnets, signs and custom labels that will fit your business’ needs. At FCD Labels, we offer a complete line of NEC labels for solar applications on the market. We pride ourselves in providing great service and keeping our prices low without sacrificing quality. With fifteen years of experience, we have become a one-stop shop for all of your labeling needs.


NEC

Here at FCD Labels, we do everything in our power to ensure that we are in compliance with all electrical, power, and solar laws. Some of these laws are ever changing, especially in recent years.  The NEC Code stands for the National Electrical Code and it sets the safety standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in our country.  Every three years, this code is updated. The NEC 2011 was originally what we followed but now we use the NEC 2014 as it is the most recent edition of the code. This code sets the minimum standards and while we make sure we follow them as closely as possible, we also do everything we can to take it a step further and ensure the most safety. When you purchase a sign from FCD Labels, you can rest easy knowing that all products have passed the minimum safety NEC code. 

If you would like to see an electronic version of this code, we will be happy to share it with you. You can trust that FCD Labels cares as much about your safety as you do and that starts with every single product and project that we have meeting the requirements of the NEC code.

Solar

Solar panels are becoming more and more popular with each passing year. While people choose solar panels because of their efficiency, it is just as important to highlight the dangers associated with them. Here at FCD Labels, we can custom create the safety solar placards that you need for your solar panel. We offer a variety of standard solar signs that can provide a warning to anyone in proximity to the unit. There are placards available that warn of energy after disconnect or during daylight hours. There are also placards that you can choose that will state the operating voltage, operating current, max system voltage, and short circuit current of the system. Whatever standard signs you may need, we have available for you. If our standard placards do not completely meet your needs, we also make custom solar placards. We start with a template and you can add or change them to create the optimum solar placard for your unit. There are different sizes that you can choose from and we have standard images and fonts that you can utilize in your custom solar placard design. 

Invest in some warning signs from FCD Labels, either from our custom selection or our standard selection, so you can prevent injuries on your property from solar panels and lessen your liability.

Electrical & Power

Electrical and power units can be extremely dangerous if someone touches them in the wrong area or messes with the wiring. If you do not have the proper signage available on the units, you could be placing yourself and others at risk. We offer both standard and custom electrical warning signs. They are available in a variety of different sizes and we have a collection of standard options for you to choose from. No matter what you need your label or placard to state, you can find it in our standard collection. Some of the signs in our standard collection include photovolatic warning, PV system breakdowns of your machines, electrical warning signs, electrical hazard signs, electrical danger signs, and other types of electrical safety signs. You can choose a label that details the power associated with the unit so that any individual who needs to work on it can determine the best course of action. If we do not have the specific label or sign you are looking for, we can help you create a custom design that meets your needs. You can choose the size of the label or sign that you want to have on your system as well as the text  and color of the sign. We offer reflective signs as well so they can be seen day and night.

Safety associated with your electrical or power unit is priceless and having the correct label can make all the difference. Protect your unit as well as any individual who may come into contact with it by purchasing a label or sign from FCD Labels.   

Contact us at FCD Labels today to explore your options and create a safer environment around your solar and electrical units.

May 23, 2016 — Kyle Haggard