Contractors Guide: Release notes

As we continue to improve and update SolarAPP+ to improve Installer experience, certain processes may change from their original form. To help installers stay up to date and understand if and how each release impacts the permitting process, we will provide detailed notes along with each release.

To view the full Software Releases notes, please visit SolarAPP+ Software Releases.

October 14, 2021

Table calculation error messages improved for clarity
Error messages derived from table calculations have been improved for enhanced readability. Error messages triggered by table calculations now contain the table number where the calculation is being done, followed by references to the inputs that cause the error in the table. For example:
R119: Unsupported entries to table 1: number of conductors - 2, average high temperature - 100, nameplate isc - 10.52. Please verify your inputs and ensure none of them are causing any table parameters to be outside of the acceptable range.

Project types can be revised!

For jurisdictions that have enabled PV+ST (PV projects paired with energy storage equipment) as an eligible project type, contractors now have the ability to change the project type from PV to PV+ST and vice versa. This feature will save (a) time, as it removes the need for the contractor to create a new application if revising the project type, and (b) money, as the contractor will be able to use the same approval ID and treat the change as a resubmittal. The "Change Project Type" button will not be an available option if PV+ST is not an enabled project type for the jurisdiction in which you are submitting the project.

October 6, 2021

Approval uploads dashboard enabled for installers

Installers can now manage their uploaded documents used in their permits such as inverter cutsheets and racking system install manuals. To use this feature, the installer can access the dashboard through the dropdown menu with their name on the top right of the navigation bar (the same menu where you would access the projects dashboard or log out). At the moment, the only action supported in the upload dashboard is to delete existing approval uploads, allowing the installer to easily manage permit applications with the latest information for their products.

New language for inputs: combined strings in parallel

In the past, a single question checked whether the installer was combining DC series strings in parallel and asked the installer to verify if the number of combined strings exceeded two on a single branch. This approach made the question confusing, and we split the question into two parts for clarity. The first question asks if the installer is combining strings in parallel, and the second question verifies that the amount of combined DC strings does not exceed two.

DC-DC converter and Mid Circuit Interrupter (MCI) revamp

We expanded and updated the questions that verify the code compliance of the installer MLPE equipment and rapid shutdown requirements. SolarAPP+ now includes two new internal databases to meet these requirements: a database for DC-DC converters, and a database for Mid Circuit Interrupters (MCI). The converter and MCI databases ensures that installed equipment matches the input equipment on the SolarAPP+ forms. The databases enable us to verify that the input ratings of MLPE equipment are not being exceeded. If you cannot find the MLPE equipment needed for your installations please reach out to [email protected]pp.org and we will help you with incorporating the equipment into our database, provided it has the appropriate listings and code compliance requirements.

PV inverter and ESS voltage and short circuit current in labels added to the inspection checklist

SolarAPP+ will calculate the PV inverter and Energy Storage System (ESS) voltage and short circuit current, which must be shown in the labeling on site. This data will be part of the inspection checklist verifications, please ensure that the inspection checklist current and voltage values match your labels on site to avoid any issues at the time of inspection.

Equipment Rating options for Load Side Tap and Supply Side Connection expanded

After we standardized the equipment rating inputs in equipment dropdown lists, we received feedback from installers stating that some of the standard ratings of the equipment used to perform a supply side connection or load side taps (such as piercing connectors) were not included in the new dropdown options. Thanks to this feedback, we have expanded the dropdown lists to incorporate the ratings of the requested equipment.

August 5, 2021

Support for DC Coupled Batteries in Energy Storage Equipment 

For jurisdictions that have enabled it, the contractor will now be able to select PV + storage as a project type when beginning to submit a new project and use a DC Coupled Battery with a Hybrid Inverter. Contractors must select the type of energy storage equipment used in the 'Equipment: Energy Storage Architecture' box on the Electrical page; energy storage systems (ESS) and DC coupled batteries are eligible options. The selection determines the range of values for manufacturer and model numbers, which must be specified, in the dropdown menus. All storage equipment information is uploaded from the California Energy Commission's database of solar equipment. The contractor must also provide datasheets for storage equipment and specify the location of the device and the number of batteries, if applicable.

Load Side Taps / Interconnection at Subpanel Feeders

Load side taps have now been enabled for PV and PV + storage projects. Contractors will see a new field, 'Point of Interconnection at Subpanel Feeders,' on the Electrical page. Among other input fields, contractors must select the compliance method for the point of interconnection at subpanel feeders along with the equipment used, such as piercing connectors or terminal lugs at a Microgrid Interconnection Device.

June 28, 2021

String Inverters Custom OCPDs

The contractor now has the ability to choose the size of the OCPD that will protect the output of string inverters, given that the OCPD meets or exceeds the SolarAPP+ calculated minimum. When the desired OCPD is above the SolarAPP+ calculated minimum, the output circuit will be sized using the rating of the OCPD instead of the inverter output circuit current to prevent wire under sizing.

Conduit

The conduit sizing function has been removed from the SolarAPP+ code compliance evaluation.  Many conditions of installation may warrant a larger diameter wire be installed than SolarAPP may designate, such as consideration for voltage drop.  An inspector in the field may utilize their better judgement in the application of the code as it is common practice to field validate conduit fill.

Microinverter/AC modules branch OCPD undersized

Previously, when the contractor had selected to use a device rated for 20A for individual branch circuits of microinverters or AC modules, SolarAPP+ continued to indicate a 15A overcurrent protective device was required. This bug has been fixed, and now a device rated for 20A can be installed, as long as the connected circuit is properly rated.

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