Renewable Generation Safety
- Electrical Guidelines
- Renewable Energy installations Code Bulletins
- Technical Information:
- Applying for Electrical Inspection
- Green Energy Act, Renewable Energy and Feed-in-Tariff General Information
Any system that produces even small amounts of electricity can be potentially dangerous, creating the possibility of electrocution and fire hazards. Improperly installed systems will create serious safety hazards to property owners, their friends, family, employees and local electrical distribution company workers.
Before installing any type of distributed generation, whether it is stand-alone or connected to the grid, it is important to understand the safety requirements. The safety regulations, the codes and the associated safety technical standards can be confusing and difficult to understand.
For more information on Solar Photovoltaic Systems, please review the presentation below:
The below guideline is intended to simplify and provide basic advice to home, farm and business owners who are considering the installation of distributed generation systems. Please click on the PDF below to review the guideline.
- October 2010
The Process Guideline below is intended to provide information regarding ESA process around the installation of Renewable Energy Systems greater than 10kW (FIT installations). The process has been developed by ESA to help avert costly delays in parallel generation projects. Please click on the PDF below to review the guideline.
50-1-* Installation of Solar Photovoltaic Systems50-2-* Grounding and Bonding of Solar Photovoltaic Systems50-3-* Voltage rating of a photovoltaic source circuit50-4-* Wiring Methods for Solar Photovoltaic Systems64-1-* Connection of utility-interactive inverters on the load side of the service disconnecting means 2-7-* Approval of Electrical Equipment
Rule 50-014 “Photovoltaic dc arc-fault circuit protection” (NEW)
Rule 50-014 had been introduced in Canadian Electrical Code 2012 to require arc fault protection (AFP) for dc circuits on or penetrating buildings and operating at 80V dc or higher.
This requirement had been postponed in Ontario Electrical Safety Code until May 2013.
ESA had extended the postponement of Rule 50-014 enforcement from May 2013 until January 1st, 2014.
Effective January 1, 2014, AFCI protection is required for Photovoltaic systems with dc source circuits, dc output circuits, or both, on or penetrating a building and operating at a maximum system voltage of 80 V or greater
Refer to OESC Rule 50-014 for requirements of the required protection.
Note: If the project’s application for inspection or plan submission is made prior to January 1st 2014, the new Rule requirement will not apply.
Products, such as arc fault protectors, inverters or combiner boxes that include AFCI protection, need to be approved to Canadian Standards. Due to the availability of the limited number of products certified to Canadian standards, ESA will extend the acceptance of products approved to UL standards (previously specified as the initial six months), as a postponement until July 1, 2015.
PV wire or cable approved to UL standards
In Ontario, in addition to cables permitted by OESC, PV cables approved to UL Standard, UL 4703 Outline of Investigation for Photovoltaic Wire is an acceptable wiring method within a PV array.
The permission for using PV cables approved to UL standards will expire on January 1, 2013. Starting January 1, 2013, all wiring used for Photovoltaic system installations are required to be approved to Canadian Standards.
There is a new Canadian standard C22.2 No 271 for Photovoltaic Cable. Cables approved to this standard (RPVU & RPV) are now available in the market.
For more information, please refer to :
In Ontario, in addition to DC disconnect switches approved as per Rule 2-024, DC switches approved to UL standard, UL 098B “Outline of investigation for enclosed and dead-front switches for use in photovoltaic systems” are acceptable as disconnecting means for PV and other renewable energy systems.
DC switches approved as per Rule 2-024 are required to have a specified DC wiring diagram for the switch.
Inverters used in renewable energy installations are required to be certified to appropriate Canadian standards and bear a certification mark accredited by Standards Council of Canada and recognized in Ontario, see Bulletin 2-7-*. No other marking in addition to the certification mark is required to identify that a product meets the applicable standard.
Inverters marked as “UTILITY-INTERCONNECTED” or equivalent and rated 600 V or less shall only bear a certification mark, not a field evaluation mark. As of April 1, 2013, utility-interactive inverters rated above 600 V are permitted to be field evaluated in accordance with SPE-1000-13, Model Code for the field evaluation of electrical equipment.
For more information about product approval, certification and field evaluation marks, refer to Bulletin 2-7-*.
Issue: PV connectors, sleeve and pin type, are approved for use as a mated pair only, i.e. the connectors are certified as a pair. Some connectors from different manufacturers, for example “MC4” (Multi Contact) and “Helios H4 (Amphenol) “, may have a similar design and appear interchangeable. However, interchanging of various manufacturers’ connectors voids their approval and hence is not permitted by the product standard. If a pair is not tested in accordance to the standard requirement, there is no guarantee for the proper connection of PV modules.
Conclusion: PV installations with connectors that are not used as a mated pair are not permitted as it is considered unapproved product, Rule 2-034. Installer shall ensure the connectors used as a pair are from the same manufacturer and installed as per their approval and instructions. If specified PV equipment has PV connectors from different manufacturers, a change in system design to address mateabilty and certification issues is needed.
In order to give the PV industry time to comply with this requirement, ESA will postpone the enforcement of this requirement until May 1, 2016.
Acceptable corrective actions, if connectors are not approved as mated pairs:
- Replace a connector with a type and model that forms a mated pair; or
- Use certified adapter with the proper connectors for mating.
For more information, see Bulletin 50-4-*for details:
Inverters marked as “UTILITY-INTERCONNECTED” or equivalent and rated 600 V or less are not permitted to be field evaluated. As of April 1, 2013, utility-interactive inverters rated above 600 V are permitted to be field evaluated in accordance with SPE-1000-13, Model Code for the field evaluation of electrical equipment.
For More Information, Please refer to:
Before your solar, wind or other renewable energy generator can be connected to the electrical system it must be inspected and approved by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). The OESC requires an application for Inspection to be submitted by the contractor doing the work. ESA recommends that all electrical work be done by a qualified electrical contractor/electrician. Installing an alternative generation system is beyond the ability of most do it yourself projects.
Once the installation is complete and meets the requirements of the OESC a connection authorization will be sent by the ESA to the Local Distribution Company.
FAQ’s About Electrical Inspection
1. Why do I need to have an Inspection?
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is responsible for enforcing the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. The Code requires that all electrical installations must be inspected and approved by ESA.
2. How to apply for an electrical inspection?
- If you are using a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Photovoltaic Installer (PV) you need to have them apply.
- If you are doing the work yourself click on the link below for more information on applying for an electrical inspection or contact our Customer Service Centre at 1-877-372-7233.
3. What are the fees for electrical inspection?
These are the fees for systems with a generation capacity of 10 kW or less; installations greater than 10 kW are itemized based on the components.
- $287.00 - if installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC)
- $470.00 - if installed by the property owner
- If the installation involves the services of an unlicensed PV installer and an LEC (for the branch wiring) the fee is $287 for the PV installer plus $287 for the LEC
4. What happens if my inspection does not pass?
- If you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor: This individual will be responsible for ensuring that all deficiencies have been corrected.
- If you have done the work yourself. You will be responsible for correcting any outstanding deficiencies before the connection authorization can be sent to the local distribution company.
Once the installation is complete and meets the requirements of the OESC a connection authorization will be sent to the Local Distribution Company.
Green Energy Act & Renewable Energy
The Green Energy Act was introduced on May 14,2009 by the Ontario Government. The historic Green Energy Act, is intended to attract new investment, create new green economy jobs and better protect the environment.
Once in force, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA), as well as complimentary policy and regulations, will provide the government with the necessary tools to ensure Ontario's place as North America's renewable energy leader, and to create a culture of conservation, assisting homeowners, government, schools and industry in embracing lower energy use.
The Feed In Tariff program is offered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to offer home, farm and small business owners who are considering the installation of alternative forms of electricity generation such as solar and wind and connecting them to run parallel with the Local Distribution Company (LDC).
The Electrical Safety Authority plans to participate in many areas of the GEA and initially will play a role in the Feed-In Tariff program.
What is the Feed- In Tariff Program & Renewable Energy
The Feed-In Tariff (Less than 10KW) Program is administered by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). Please see OPA website for rate information.
Two Types of Renewable Energy Installations
The two types are:
- Project Generation Capacity (Less than 10KW) is called microFIT.
- Project Generation Capacity (Greater than 10KW) is called FIT.
A Feed-In Tariff refers to the specific prices paid to renewable energy suppliers for the electricity produced by the generating facility.
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is the final step in the Feed-in Tariff program. ESA is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) are met and that all electrical installations meet the requirements of the Code.
How do I participate in the Feed In Tariff Program?
There are three main steps to participating in the Feed-In Tariff program.
- Contact the Ontario Power Authority at www.powerauthority.on.ca for program requirements and other agencies you should contact and application form.
- Contact the Local Distribution Company to learn the specific requirements regarding the connection report.
- Contact the Electrical Safety Authority to ensure your installation meets the requirements of the OESC, and to arrange for an electrical inspection to allow you to connect to the local distribution system