The new 8th Edition (2023) of the Florida Building Code (FBC) includes a few changes to sections that cover Solar Energy Systems. They are fairly limited in their scope but they do present an opportunity to review. In this article, we will examine requirements in the Residential code. There are similar sections in Building and Energy codes. Some new lanquage has been added in the Equipment listings section referencing Underwriter’s Laboratory UL 2703. We have included a brief discription of that standard published by UL below. First let’s look at the changes.
2023 Florida Building Code
Residential 8th Edition
CHAPTER 3 BUILDING PLANNING
SECTION 324 SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS
R324.3.1 Equipment listings.
(Note: new language highlighted in blue.)
Photovoltaic panels and modules shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 1703. Inverters shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 1741. Systems connected to the utility grid shall use inverters listed for utility interaction. Mounting systems listed and labeled in accordance with UL 2703 shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions and their listings.
R324.5 Building-integrated photovoltaic systems.
Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems that serve as roof coverings shall be designed and installed in accordance with Section R905.
R324.5.3 BIPV roof panels BIPV roof panels shall comply with Section R905.17
The new section that references mounting systems presents us with an opportunity to review the flashing requirements in the code. In particular, we should review the following sections and how they are related to rooftop solar installations.
CHAPTER 9 (emphasis highlighted in green)
SECTION R903 WEATHER PROTECTION
Flashings shall be used to seal roofing systems, where the system is interrupted or terminated and shall be installed in a manner that prevents moisture from entering the wall and roof through joints in copings, through moisture permeable materials and at intersections with parapet walls and other penetrations through the roof plane.
Flashings shall be installed at wall and roof intersections, wherever there is a change in roof slope or direction and around roof openings. Where flashing is of metal, the metal shall be corrosion resistant with a thickness of not less than provided in Table R903.2.1 or in compliance with RAS 111.
R903.2.3 Membrane flashings.
All membrane flashing shall be installed according to the roof assembly manufacturer’s published literature.
Let’s also review other existing sections of this code that address rooftop Solar Energy Systems.
SECTION R905 REQUIREMENTS FOR ROOF COVERINGS
R905.16 Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles.
The installation of building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles shall comply with the provisions of this section, Section R324 and NFPA 70.
R905.16.1 Deck requirements. Reserved.
R905.16.2 Deck slope. Reserved.
Underlayment shall comply and be installed in accordance with Section R905.1.1.
R905.16.4 Underlayment application. Reserved.
R905.16.4.1 Ice barrier. Reserved.
R905.16.4.2 Underlayment and high winds. Reserved.
R905.16.5 Material standards.
Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 1703.
Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles shall be attached in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
R905.16.7 Wind resistance.
Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles shall be tested in accordance with procedures and acceptance criteria in ASTM D3161 or TAS 107. Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingles shall comply with the classification requirements of Table R905.2.6.1 for the appropriate maximum basic wind speed. Building-integrated photovoltaic roofing modules/shingle packaging shall bear a label to indicate compliance with the procedures in ASTM D3161 or TAS 107 and the required classification from Table R905.2.6.1.
R905.17 Photovoltaic systems.
Rooftop mounted photovoltaic systems shall be designed in accordance with this section.
R905.17.1 Wind resistance.
Rooftop mounted photovoltaic systems shall be designed for wind loads in accordance with ASCE 7.
R905.17.2 Fire classification.
Rooftop mounted photovoltaic systems shall have the same fire classification as required for the roof assembly by Section R902.
Rooftop mounted photovoltaic systems shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
R905.17.4 Photovoltaic panels and modules.
Photovoltaic panels and modules mounted on top of a roof shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 1703 and shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Rooftop Solar Energy Systems are very complex and are covered extensively in other areas of the code including many referenced standards. This article is meant to address some of the specific items where solar systems interface with or comprise an integral part of the roof coverings.
Mike Silvers, CPRC is owner of Silvers Systems Inc. and is consulting with FRSA as Director of Technical Services. Mike is an FRSA Past President, Life Member and Campanella Award recipient and brings over 50 years of industry knowledge and experience to FRSA’s team.