Navigating Solar Regulations for BIPV System Installations


September 29, 2023

Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is an innovative approach that combines architectural design with solar energy production. As solar panels become not just a functional add-on but an integral part of a building's structure, understanding the legal landscape becomes imperative for successful implementation. Here, we delve into the regulations surrounding BIPV system installations in the US and Canada.

United States

Federal Incentives

The federal government offers the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) up to 30%, which allows BIPV system owners to deduct a percentage of their solar costs from their taxes.

Green Building Certifications

Certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) encourage the incorporation of renewable energy sources. BIPV system can fetch buildings higher points due to its integrated design and energy production capabilities - for example, with Mitrex, the building can obtain up to 32 LEED points.

Standards and Codes

BIPV installations in the US are primarily governed by the National Electrical Code (NEC), which details safety requirements. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) are also pertinent, specifically for the structural aspects and integration of the BIPV system.

State-Level Initiatives

Each state may have its incentives and regulations. For instance, California's Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24) mandates that certain new constructions incorporate solar, while Local Law 97 in New York aims to reduce the emissions produced by the city's largest buildings.

Interconnection Standards

This pertains to connecting the solar system to the grid. Rules can vary across states and utility companies, but most follow the guidelines set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).


Federal Incentives

Canada has introduced Clean Electricity Regulations as part of its 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP). These regulations outline a roadmap towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the entire economy by 2050, focusing on strategies related to clean electricity production and signifying the importance of solutions like the BIPV system.

Standards and Codes

The Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) plays a similar role to the NEC in the US, outlining safety and installation guidelines. The National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) addresses building integration aspects.

Provincial Initiatives

Similar to US states, Canadian provinces have their own sets of rules and incentives. For example, Alberta's Micro-Generation Regulation encourages decentralized energy production, a perfect setting for BIPV system installations.

Net Metering

Most provinces have net metering policies allowing BIPV owners to receive credit for excess power fed back into the grid. The BIPV landscape in the US and Canada, while being regulated, offers numerous opportunities for those willing to navigate it. With the dual benefits of architectural aesthetics and green energy production, BIPV is poised to play a pivotal role in the future of construction and renewable energy.

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