California’s law requiring solar PV on every new residential structure, rooftop solar PV, often paired with energy storage, will soon be ubiquitous in the United States. Recognizing this trend and its potential impact on human safety, the National Fire Protection Association introduced new requirements for rooftop solar PV systems in the 2017 edition of “NFPA 70: National Electrical Code®” (a.k.a. NEC 2017). Section 690.12 of NEC 2017, “Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings,” requires conductors inside-the-array boundary to be de-energized to 80 volts or less within 30 seconds of initiating a rapid shutdown event. This requirement came into force on January 1, 2020 and is now in effect in 34 states.
While it is possible for solar PV product manufacturers and integrators to fulfill NEC 2017 Rapid Shutdown requirements without a supporting communication system to detect faults and re-energize PV modules, it is more common that a communication system—using Power Line Communications (PLC) or wireless technology—is used for this purpose.
This course is an examination of data communication technologies, deployment techniques, and regulatory considerations associated with PV module rapid shutdown solutions. The course is intended for students interested in exploring technical (e.g. engineering, component design, system design), professional (e.g. solar project development, regulatory compliance, energy policy, supply chain management) and vocational (e.g. system installation, operations & maintenance, site monitoring) careers in the rapidly growing solar energy industry. Students will acquire a foundation in the basic data communication concepts associated with PV module communication solutions and the regulated operating environments these solutions exist within.
By the end of this course, students will understand: