Last month at CALSSA Lobby Day, we heard some solar professionals mention that string inverters do not have solutions to meet the NEC 2017 rapid shutdown requirement. We were not surprised to hear this as we know one of the challenges is staying current on product features, but we were somehow disappointed, as this is simply misinformation among the solar market.
The NEC 2017 code requires the ability to enact module-level shutdown in the event of a fire in a building with a rooftop solar plant. Solar-Log® products are not directly affected by NEC 2017 but it does affect our customers and our inverter manufacturer partners. As jurisdictions adopt NEC 2017 fire safety standards for solar, installers need to adjust equipment offerings to comply with the new regulations. One of the basic challenges installers and developers face is staying up-to-date on which products fulfill local requirements. We work closely with other manufacturers to educate installers of the new enhancements in product development.
There are many string inverters which have developed ways to meet the NEC code, including manufacturers like SMA and Fronius. Also, compatibility with Module Level Power Electronics (MLPE’s) like Tigo Energy creates UL-certified rapid shutdown solutions for string inverters. In these installations, the MLPE is used in combination with the inverter to provide the rapid shutdown, often at a low cost. Given Solar-Log® and Tigo Energy’s similar neutrality, Solar-Log® can also be used in conjunction with inverters that have common compatibility with MLPE’s like Tigo Energy. This creates a professional solution to maximize solar production while meeting local requirements and ensuring smooth plant operation.