Grid-Tied Solar Safety

A solar unit that is tied to a dwelling or structure connected to a WCEC meter, even if the member is not exporting power to WCEC, is called a grid-tied or distributed energy resource.  

Whether a member exports excess kWh to WCEC or not, the grid-tied systems must be inspected and approved by WCEC, before permission is given to operate. Failure to notify WCEC before operating can result in a meter tampering charge accessed to the member. 

Why inspection and compliance is critical  

The inspection purpose is to ensure a properly working UL 1741 compliant inverter.  Systems must also have a visible, lockable, and accessible solar A/C disconnect switch, as well as a label/notice indicating the  presence of solar energy. 

Without the safety system, there is the threat of electrocution. A connected solar unit operates the same as any other generator.  It can back feed electricity onto power lines to cause a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation for linemen. A properly working inverter stops power from being sent to a de-energized line. 

Once a unit passes inspection, it is marked on our internal system map, so linemen are aware of it when they are working on lines. Before doing so, they can check to make sure there is no electrical current back feeding onto the lines.