Ground Mounts and Code

Is there any code that states that "short" non-residential structures can be built to different codes of that of a residential buildings? When it comes to ground mounts under 5ft tall, it seems overkill to build in all the additional safety factors usually required on residential and commercial buildings.



  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,006 admin
    Re: Ground Mounts and Code

    Depending on the area--Some are trying to limit flying debris and others are trying to prevent ignition sources for wild fires.

    I would guess that if you bring "utility power" out to the structure (or GT the structure back to the utility)--more people are going to pay attention than a random / non-permitted solar array for off-grid power of some sort.

    In the building code, they generally take into account the size and shape of the structure... Close to the ground, wind forces can be dramatically lower.

    It may be worth paying a Civil/Structural (PE) professional engineer to "approve" your particular structural requirements.

    What is it that you are looking at being "overkill"?

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,028 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ground Mounts and Code

    Just guessing here but the 2008NEC required all arrays to be GFCI's no matter where they were located.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Philip CPhilip C Solar Expert Posts: 45
    Re: Ground Mounts and Code

    Guess when I'm thinking overkill is when some local jurisdictions require you to use Exp C or hefty snow loads. By doing this, we are putting a great deal of safety factor into a non-residential structure. You do make a valid point about fire prevention that I did not consider.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,650 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Ground Mounts and Code

    Might also consider that the 2008 code requires limited access to the array or the wiring run in conduit. Just another thing to worry about...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former, 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
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