Codes and Standards for Solar Energy Systems

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Codes and Standards for Solar Energy Systems

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Codes are formal bodies of law that define physical requirements or characteristics, and may incorporate a set of standards. While standards are usually followed voluntarily, codes are legally enforceable in the jurisdictions where they have been adopted. A solar energy system will generally have to conform to local plumbing, electrical, and structural/building codes, and to local covenants governing the appearance and placement of solar collectors.

Organizations use standards when comparing, rating, or installing materials or products. Standards take the forms of specifications, test methods, performance criteria, or practices. They are developed by professional groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Groups that represent a consensus of organizations, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), also develop standards. Many manufacturers and installers voluntarily adhere to standards. Complying with the standards makes them eligible for grants and loan guarantees or tax incentive programs, and provides them with a more marketable product or service.

The organizations that write standards related to solar energy systems, as well as the most specific and recent standards relating to solar energy system equipment, are listed below. Contact the organizations directly for information regarding their activities, for the availability and prices of the standards listed, and for information on any standards being revised or under development.

Credits: US Department of Energy (

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