April 29, 2019

Municipal Code Inspectors Bolster Their Solar PV Inspection Expertise

Last year, MassCEC partnered with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) and Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to conduct 5 Municipal Code Inspector Trainings across the Commonwealth. The goal of these trainings was to provide municipal code officials with a comprehensive and practical run-through of key knowledge essential to approving permit applications and inspecting solar installations. This included helping code inspectors identify common, avoidable errors to increase the quality of the installations and efficacy of on-site inspections. IREC originally received a grant from the US Department of Energy  Solar Training and Education for Professionals (STEP) program to develop the training and materials for code inspectors.  

With the increasing proliferation of solar PV systems in Massachusetts (from around 600 in 2006 to over 89,000 in 2018), municipalities valued this training opportunity for their municipal building and electrical inspectors. The series of trainings which took place in 8-hour sessions for a $35 fee, reached 85 municipal code inspectors representing 48 municipalities, as well as 26 private entities. Participants at the trainings included both public-sector employees, including state and municipal building and electrical inspectors, and private entities such as solar installers and members of regional planning commissions. When code inspectors were asked in a survey following the course whether they felt more prepared to perform a thorough inspection of an installed solar electric system, 87% responded with ‘Fully Agree’ or ‘Mostly Agree’, with many leaving positive feedback such as: “Good overview. All inspectors should take this course” and “Why wasn't every building official and wiring inspector on Cape Cod here?”

Over 40% of municipalities sent more than one representative to the trainings, and 6 municipalities sent inspectors to trainings at different locations. Based on the positive response from municipal code inspectors, MassCEC is planning an additional series of municipal code inspector trainings in 2019. To learn more about upcoming trainings, follow MassCEC on Twitter or periodically check back on our Events Calendar.