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1.877.ESA.SAFE / 1.877.372.7233

Renewable Generation Safety


Introduction

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.  

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Electrical Guidelines

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.

Electrical Guidelines for Inverter-Based Micro Generation Facilities (10 kW and smaller)

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 refer to SPEC-005 R3 below:

Process Guideline for the installation of Parallel Generating Systems (Greater than 10kW)

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Renewable Energy Installations: OESC Bulletins

Bulletins are included with the purchase of the 2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) book, which is available through the CSA website here.

Bulletin 64-1-* Connection of utility-interactive inverters on the load side of service disconnecting means

Bulletin 64-2-* Grounding and bonding of solar photovoltaic systems

Bulletin 64-3-*Voltage rating of a photovoltaic source circuit

Bulletin 64-4-* Wiring methods for solar photovoltaic systems

Bulletin 64-5-* Installation of solar photovoltaic systems

Bulletin 64-6-* PV rapid shutdown

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Technical Information

 

Photovoltaic dc arc-fault circuit protection

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) protection is required for PV 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 64-216 for requirements of the required protection.

Products, such as arc fault protectors, inverters or combiner boxes that include AFCI protection, need to be approved to Canadian Standards. Field evaluation is permitted on the assembly that contains PV arc fault detectors and interrupts, but a detector is required to be certified to applicable CSA standards. In addition, PV arc-fault detectors certified to UL standard, UL1699B, are also acceptable.

DC disconnect switches approved to UL standards

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.

PV connectors – Mateability Issues

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. 

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.

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, refer to Bulletin 64-4-*.

 

Electrical Inspection FAQs
  1. Why do I need to have an Inspection? The OESC requires an application to be submitted and a connection authorization to be issued by the Electrical Safety Authority
  2. Do I need an Electrical Inspection if I am not connecting to the Supply Authority (Utility)? Yes.
  3. Who should apply for an electrical inspection? (i) f you are using a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Photovoltaic Installer (PV) they can apply on behalf of your project.
    (ii) 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.

    A PV Installation diagram is shown below. Please refer to the following webpage on how to arrange for an Electrical Inspection.

    diagram of PV installation
  4. What are the fees for electrical inspection? The fees for electrical inspection of systems with a generation capacity of 10 kW or less are as follows:
    (i) $290.00- if installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC)
    (ii) $475.00 - if installed by the property owner
    (iii) If the installation involves the services of an unlicensed PV installer and an LEC (for the branch wiring) the fee is $290.00 for the PV installer plus $290.00 for the LEC

    Note: Installations greater than 10 kW are itemized based on the components.
  5. What happens if my inspection does not pass? (i) If you have hired a Licensed Electrical Contractor: This individual will be responsible for ensuring that all deficiencies have been corrected.
    (ii) 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.

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Green Energy Act and Renewable Energy

The Ontario Government introduced Bill 150, the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, on May 14, 2009.  Under Bill 150, the Green Energy Act (GEA) was implemented to improve energy conservation, develop renewable energy generation, and create employment opportunities for clean energy jobs. The GEA allows for people and organizations in Ontario to develop renewable energy projects with ease. 

Visit the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) website for more information on the eligibility requirements, price schedule and program resources.

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