PV Roof Penetration - Under the array?

aj164aj164 Solar Expert Posts: 122 ✭✭✭
The inspector today said I could not have the roof penetration located under the array (because it's not "readily accessible").

I searched here for a while and came up with one thread on roof penetrations. That thread shows two example pictures: one has the conduit and penetration sitting right in the middle of what will soon be covered by the array, and the other shows the penetration off to the side of the array.

I have no fuses, splices, or otherwise that might need to be "serviced" in the roof penetration. The USE cables go right through to a junction box in the attic below.

If all roof-mounted arrays would be subject to this "readily accessible" rule, then there could be no clean installs. Every rooftop would sport some conduit and electrical box (SLB, etc.) off to one edge of the array. Is this really a NEC rule?

Thanks -


  • aj164aj164 Solar Expert Posts: 122 ✭✭✭
    Re: PV Roof Penetration - Under the array?

    Any ideas on this? Where are you guys putting the electrical roof penetrations?

    It is difficult enough dealing with homeowners associations and their extreme resistance to solar on the roof. I might have to agree with them if the only options are to have conduit running over the eave or a roof penetration outside and adjacent to the array.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,082 admin
    Re: PV Roof Penetration - Under the array?

    My two cents--If it is "easy" to remove the solar panel (4 bolts)--I would just demonstrate to the inspector that within five minutes you can pop the solar panel up (set it on a blanket tied/clipped to the roof and have a rope/clip to hold the panel so you don't drop a $1,000 of glass on the ground) and access the box... This should not be the same as putting the box under 6" of concrete or under a tile roof...

    I would be neat if it took you longer to get the ladder than to remove the solar panel itself.

    Call the panel "decorative fascia" or trim... :roll:

    As long as the penetration passes the rough electrical inspection--he should not need to re-inspect (my inspectors never climbed on roofs or went in crawl spaces when they did my various inspections).

    Try to find out (nicely/politely) what their concern is... Need for inspection, or that you should not have to rip a home apart if service is ever needed...

    For my installation--it is fully exposed--but not near as nice as what most of you guys have done... Covering with a solar panel would have been better in my case--because the access boxes are not water proof--no matter how the wires are ran into the box (had to drill weep holes in a couple places to prevent rain water from going through 30' of conduit and coming in my inverter/leaking on the garage floor). Tell him it helps prevent water incursion and reduces wiring temperature because of the shading of the solar panels.

    But--in the end, they are the local equivalent of "god"...

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: PV Roof Penetration - Under the array?

    remember that link i gave you in your other thread for the general nec stuff? here's a link to nec material that you can read,
    john wiles is not the only one that has nec materials out there and solar is primary on section 690, but it's not limited to only that section at times.

    from a previous thread and in the link to the text it reads,
    All junction boxes and other locations where module wiring connections are made

    be accessible. Removable modules and stranded wiring may allow
    accessibility [690.34]. The modules should not be permanently fixed (welded) to
    mounting frames, and solid wire that could break when modules are moved to
    service the junction boxes should be used sparingly. Open spaces behind the

    modules would allow access to the junction boxes.

    for some reason he may be considering your pv as being permanently mounted or you left no clearance for junction box access as pvs mounted too close to the roof would do. we generally state for other reasons to allow at least 6 inches clearance to allow pvs to cool off with air circulation flowing freely underneath it. he could also be making his own interpretation of nec rules. if asking him then just ask what he thinks may make it accessible to him. let us know what happens and what's said.
  • newenergynewenergy Solar Expert Posts: 291 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: PV Roof Penetration - Under the array?

    Pretty bizarre since few roofs are readily accessible.

    "Capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth."

    Some cities want a disconnect on the roof if you are going to enter attic space. That disconnect would have to be accessible, but not "readily accessible." If there is no disconnect, I suspect it shouldn't have to be accessible at all unless he just wants to see it as part of the inspection.
Sign In or Register to comment.