Canadian Manufacturing

2015 Canadian Electrical Code addresses renewable energy applications

Requirements help ensure public safety and provide a level regulatory playing field for installers and manufacturers



—Sponsored article by CSA Group

With the increased interest in energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar, it’s important to have established safe practices for installation and maintenance personnel and to help ensure optimum performance of installed equipment.

The expanding market for renewable energy systems has also led to a need for electrical safety requirements to ensure public safety and provide a level regulatory playing field for installers and manufacturers. Revisions in Section 64 of the 2015 Canadian Electrical Code (CE Code, Part I), responded to this market need through updates to requirements for “Renewable Energy Systems” and incorporation of requirements formerly located in Section 50, “Solar Photovoltaic Systems.”

Stakeholders that have developed these requirements for renewable energy for use in Canada are recognized international professionals including engineers, manufacturers, regulators, utilities, project developers, insurers and academics.

The foundation of the Canadian electrical safety system rests on the installation requirements in the CE Code, Part I; product safety requirements in the CE Code, Part II series of standards; and enforcement of electrical safety regulation that references the CE Code Part I.

The requirements for renewable energy systems cover 18 pages in the 2015 CE Code, Part 1 and apply to all types of occupancy, including residential, commercial, and industrial establishments. Among the many new requirements contained in Section 64 are requirements for grounding of renewable energy systems, disconnection means, and the installation and connection of storage batteries.

The new Section 64 includes new and updated terminology, ground fault protection requirements for DC circuits, and recognition of increased voltage limits now common in photovoltaic renewable energy systems. New safety requirements include polarity identification and photovoltaic system rapid shutdown.

Product safety
In support of the new installation rules in the CE Code, Part I, there was also a great deal of activity in the CE Code, Part II series of standards for electrical product safety in the renewables area. This includes new standards published to address a wide variety of new technologies in the PV industry, including purpose-built PV cables, arc fault protection, connectors, combiner boxes and other related electrical products.

In addition to the modifications to the CE Code Parts I and II, CSA Group has published standards for the wind energy industry that provide requirements for design, power performance, acoustic noise measurement and lightning protection for wind turbines, along with design requirements for offshore wind turbines. CSA Group has also developed solar PV rooftop installation best practice guidelines for rooftop projects.

Additionally, CSA Group offers training and supporting products to help users understand and apply key changes and updates in the 2015 CE Code including: CE Code Update Training in workshop, online or onsite formats, the 2015 CE Code Handbook, and the brand new 2015 Canadian Electrical Code Interactive. CSA Group provides a wide range of other electrical based specialty training including Installation and Maintenance of Renewable Energy Systems and PV Installation and Safety Requirements.

About the Canadian Electrical Code
Developed by committees of experts representing a broad spectrum of industry stakeholders from across Canada, the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I is published on a three year cycle and adopted as electrical safety regulation in all Provinces and Territories. The 23rd edition of the CE Code, Part I was published in January 2015 and features major revisions to several sections.

Tim Pope, C.E.T. is a Senior Project Manager in the electrical standards program and is responsible for the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I.

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world. For more information visit www.csagroup.org.

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