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Solar Array Fire Access Code

tech1234 | Posted in Building Code Questions on

I just wanted to post something that I just went through to hopefully save others time in there builds. (I searched here for up to date info but didn’t find any. )

In New Hampshire (as well as other states, some with some differences) the 36″ clear roof path firefighter access rules have been lifted/eased. In NH you can now install full roof covering arrays on south facing planes if you have an equal amount of north facing roof with good access for firefighters. Details can be found in the link below.

Also there are many other routes to avoid what seems like excessive restrictions on PV placement. those options are also listed below. Exceptions. The AHJ shall be permitted to grant exceptions where access, pathway, or ventilation requirements are reduced due to any of the following circumstances: (1) Proximity and type of adjacent exposures (2) Alternative access opportunities, as from adjoining roofs (3) Ground level access to the roof (4) Adequate ventilation opportunities beneath photovoltaic module arrays (5) Adequate ventilation opportunities afforded by module set back from other rooftop equipment (6) Automatic ventilation devices (7) New technologies, methods, or other innovations that ensure adequate fire department access, pathways, and ventilation opportunities   

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  1. PBP1 | | #1

    Thanks for posting, the setbacks sure steal away space, was looking at thin film on a standing seam metal roof and the solar installer indicated setbacks. Not sure if the code should consider differences between panels and thin film for fire - also for mass.

  2. tech1234 | | #2

    Ya when I first heard about these changes (2018 I think) I thought this would be a major disruption to the progress of PV. Turns out it was. Seems like "the system" actually worked this time and a well informed balance was reached.

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