Use of non-UL rated panels

FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
The panels in question are the Sun 190 panels which have the same characteristics as the Evergreen ES-190-SL's. The Sun panels are non UL rated.

I understand that non UL panels are not for "rooftop" mounting. Does that also include non-inhabited structures such as farm sheds, carports, detached garages, and similar outbuildings? Where is the code definition for this?

For ground or pole mount, these would be the choice due to the better price on the modules.

I know FSEC does not approve of any non UL panels for FL cert #'s, but does that really matter for the state rebate incentive program if they are not really in the equation?

What is the state of FL's standing on non UL rated panels and the incentive program?

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    Not UL rated means Underwriter's Laboratories hasn't actually tested and certified the design as electrically safe. This doesn't mean that they aren't, but no one is going to guarantee it. Hence any Gov't agency would exclude non-certified equipment from any incentive program. It could burn your house down.
  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels
    Not UL rated means Underwriter's Laboratories hasn't actually tested and certified the design as electrically safe. This doesn't mean that they aren't, but no one is going to guarantee it. Hence any Gov't agency would exclude non-certified equipment from any incentive program. It could burn your house down.

    As a contractor, doing things by code is the only way to limit my liability and insure my customer's safety - that goes without saying.

    I was just curious about the state's position on non-UL panels for non-inhabited outbuildings, pole, and ground mount scenerios.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    There is nothing specific in the rebate application saying they must be UL approved, they ( FL DEP ) do ask what model the solar panels are.

    It will really come down to the building department, if they will allow non-UL stuff for gridtie for your installation, then you might be OK. Based on my personal experiences, you will have to have UL approved components, regardless if its roof mounted or not.

    The Sun panels are 100% Everygreens, they get labeled Suns so they can be sold at a lower price point. If one doesn't need a UL label , the I recommend the panels, at 2.50 watt its the best deal in the US, a label in this case make no difference in the watts delivered of if the frame and cabling is safe, but only because these ARE evergreen panels

    You can get "B" grade UL Evergreens panels for 2.98 watt, seems like for 50 cents/watt its worth going this route and not have to deal with insurance/building department/ utility sign off concerns using the Suns
  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    Thanks SG. We are on the same page here. Looks like I'll be beating the bushes with our inspection dept and local utilities on this one for non-building mounted panels.

    .50 cents per watt on a 6,000 watt system is sure a big savings to the customer - if they can be approved for ground or pole mount installations and qualify for the state incentive.

    I will send an email to the FL DEP regarding this and update this thread with the response.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    Personally I think that the with liability with any grid tie system, I would be very reluctant to install any non listed component in a system regardless of what the inspection/utility authority allows. It seems in the grand scheme of things,, $.50/watt is a small price to pay for some piece of mind. (Having said that I might install such a system for myself,,, but not for a customer)

    I run some Sun panels and I'm happy with them,,, but they are off grid.

    Tony
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    You mentioned a 6Kw system, the Florida rebate is currently limited to 5Kw @ 4.00/watt which is dollar wise 20K

    Also there a NO FUNDS ... zip and the DEP has been accepting applications for 9 months now for potentially next years allotment, which may not show up. You should ask DEP what the back-log is for 2009-2010 ... I would think at this point, its already gone, even if they get funded
  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels
    You mentioned a 6Kw system, the Florida rebate is currently limited to 5Kw @ 4.00/watt which is dollar wise 20K

    Also there a NO FUNDS ... zip and the DEP has been accepting applications for 9 months now for potentially next years allotment, which may not show up. You should ask DEP what the back-log is for 2009-2010 ... I would think at this point, its already gone, even if they get funded

    Yes - 5 Kw limit is understood.

    The back-log of funds available is a scary thought. We'll see what goes. I'll post any info regarding this on this thread.
  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels
    icarus wrote: »
    Personally I think that the with liability with any grid tie system, I would be very reluctant to install any non listed component in a system regardless of what the inspection/utility authority allows. It seems in the grand scheme of things,, $.50/watt is a small price to pay for some piece of mind. (Having said that I might install such a system for myself,,, but not for a customer)

    I run some Sun panels and I'm happy with them,,, but they are off grid.

    Tony


    Good point. The Sun panels I'm looking into as an option for myself. They will be ground mount - away from anything combustible. But I think you are right about the utility co. and grid tying.

    Thanks for your input.
  • FL SUNFL SUN Solar Expert Posts: 94 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Use of non-UL rated panels

    As of 03-20-09 the FL solar incentives and rebate program was switched from the DEP to FL Energy and Climate Commision. They are also creating an on-line application to speed up the process. That process is not the issue, though.

    State legislature will be in session till May and are figuring out how much to budget (for incentives) for FY '09-'10. Now is a good time to voice your interest about the solar rebate issue.

    http://www.myfloridaclimate.com/env/home/climate_quick_links/florida_energy_climate_commission/grants_solar_rebates_incentives/solar_rebate_program

    $5,000,000.00 isn't much for the whole state considering 250 5 Kw systems statewide wipes out the the whole barrel. Then you have no-brainer solar DHW rebates at $500.00 a pop, which these systems have been selling like hotcakes around here. No wonder the state doesn't have the funds.
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