Solar quality assurance working group forms at SEIA

A new Solar Quality Assurance Working Group has formed recently at SEIA as an initiative of the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS). The group is open to all members of SEIA, and held its first meeting in May. The group plans to release version 2.0 of the Photovoltaics Installation Best Practices Guide at SPI.

The Best Practices Guide was first produced by IBTS in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other partners two years ago, with the support of a grant from DOE’s SunShot program.

The Solar Quality Assurance group already has some 80 participants, representing a wide sampling of the solar industry, from installers to EPCs, to financiers, to insurance groups, according to IBTS Program Director Richard Lawrence.

IBTS conducts residential solar installation inspections for solar financiers, for solar portfolio owners, for PACE programs, for banks and other investors and for insurance companies. The organization has done 18,000 inspections across 28 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, he said.

Most of the inspections are performed after the building permits have been signed off by local inspectors, and are conducted through the use of photos taken by the installers. IBTS also selects representative installs for on-site inspections to confirm the validity of the remote inspection universe.

The lessons learned from the IBTS inspections are offered to the installers and to the jurisdictional inspectors to help improve the quality of the installs. the V2.0 of the Best Practices Guide is also aimed at these groups to help standardize the quality assurance process nationally.

Virginia-based IBTS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission statement declares that it is committed to helping jurisdictions meet the needs of their citizens with greater agility, efficiency, and full transparency. It partners with government at all levels to provide expertise in regulatory compliance, program and service management, and quality engineering services.