Codes & Standards
Solar PV systems: Upcoming changes to Section 64 • Code File, July-August 2017
By Tatjana Dinic
August 17, 2017 – The new CE Code (24th ed.) is almost here, and Section 64 contains several important changes (already approved by the CE Code-Part I Committee), two of which I will discuss here.
Increased voltage from 1000V to 1500V
The voltage limit for PV systems, referenced by Rule 64-202(5), is being increased from 1000V to 1500V.This change aligns Rule 64-202 with recent changes to CE Code-Part II standards, such as: CSA C22.2 No.107.1 (Inverters), CSA C22.2 No.290 (Photovoltaic combiner boxes), and CSA C22.2 No.61730-1 and 2 (Photovoltaic modules).
To address concerns over worker safety, Rule 64-202 is being amended to:
• recognize the higher voltage is only permitted in installations where qualified maintenance personnel are present,
• require the installation, or the part of the installation, exceeding 750V to be inaccessible to the public, and
• require for specific voltage warning signs, such as “Danger 1500V DC”.
A new Appendix B Note will provide guidance on the term “inaccessible to the public” (similar to Rule 64-208), which means the PV source and output circuits—plus equipment connected to or within those circuits—are to be:
• located within a fenced enclosure in accordance with Rule 26-300,
• guarded by locked doors,
• elevated 3 m or more above grade level, or above any surface upon which a person could stand,
• located where access is restricted by other effective means (Figure 1).
This change does not apply to dwelling units, where the maximum permitted voltage is 600V.
Disconnecting means for recombiners
Recombiners are used in large PV systems where multiple combiner boxes are often necessary; the output of these combiner boxes may need to be combined (“recombined”) before reaching an inverter. Thus, the design and purpose of combiners and recombiners is almost the same.
CE Code Rule 64-060(12) applies to PV combiners. However, when the recombiner is located far from the inverter, the same logic that requires a disconnecting switch for a combiner should also apply to the recombiner.
Based on new requirements, when the recombiner is installed in excess of 7.5 m from the inverter, a single disconnecting means capable of being opened at the ampere rating of the inverter input circuit shall be installed. The installation requirements are exactly the same as for combiners. Ω
PHOTO: A new Appendix B Note will provide guidance on the term “inaccessible to the public”.
Tatjana Dinic, P.Eng., is the acting director for Engineering & Program Development at Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) where, among other things, she is responsible for product safety, code development, improving harmonization and alternative compliance, and aging infrastructure programs. She is Professional Engineer with M. Eng. degree from University of Toronto and a member of CSA CE Code-Part I, Sections 4, 10 and 30. Tatjana can be reached at email@example.com .