The International Code Council (ICC) submitted preliminary results approving two proposals from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that designate solar-plus-storage projects as Risk Category 2 infrastructure.
Without the SEIA proposals S79-22 and S81-22, the proposal from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) under S76-22 was required to meet Risk Category 4 requirements, a more stringent risk category typically reserved for hospitals, fire, police and emergency services, buildings and infrastructure.
The SEIA proposals under S79-22 and S81-22 carve out a special category for the approval of solar and energy storage facilities.
“The extreme and overly burdensome code measures that would have been required under the FEMA proposal could have stifled clean energy growth without improving grid resilience,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “The resulting effect, whether intended or not, would have been a disastrous decrease in renewable energy projects while we aggressively strive to meet important climate goals.”
Prior to the SEIA proposals, more than 315 clean energy companies had called on the ICC to reject the FEMA S76-22 proposal that could have stifled U.S. clean energy progress.
According to SEIA, it balances a significant increase in the structural requirements for solar facilities with enough breathing room for project construction to move forward. FEMA officials themselves confirmed they support the proposals put forward by SEIA and supported by the Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA), according to oral testimony on Sept. 15 and a voter’s guide that FEMA sent to voters on Oct. 13.
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