By Sam Daye
Adding alternative electrical energy production and storage systems can provide exceptional value to your facility. Often, this requires modification to your existing equipment and systems. However, any field modification made to listed equipment, including a switchboard line or load side bus tap interconnection, as covered in NFPA-70 article 230.82, means the modification to the switchboard may require an approval by the local utility company, or by the Authority Having Jurisdcition (AHJ). In most cases, the utility company or AHJ may request the installer to obtain field evaluation and labeling by an accredited Field Evaluation Body (FEB) prior to approval.
Evaluating the interconnection requires ensuring that the switchboard still meets the requirements of both the subject electrical standards and applicable installation codes after the interconnection has been performed. Generally, investigation of the bus tap interconnections occurs during a utility shut down of electrical power to the facility; the evaluation must be completed before power is restored to the switchboard. Clear communication of the requirements for the installation, both prior to and during the shutdown, is critical for project success.
Common procedures for field evaluation and labeling of switchboard bus taps
The universal availability and use of electricity has come to define modern industrial life. Facilities looking to augment their use of energy with solar or fuel cell powered electricity and storage systems will realize exceptional value to their facility. The evaluation process will typically involve electrical drawings review, site inspection, and field testing. Pay particular attention to the following:
The field evaluation for switchboard bus taps is generally completed in one site visit (during the utility shutdown, when the bus tap connections are installed). The typical steps taken during an evaluation include:
The U.S. solar market is accelerating because of a growing understanding that renewable energy projects are sound investments. Augmenting existing energy in your facility can be cost efficient, but could also be costly if your electrical assets fail. Using accredited FEBs and partners that can support projects before and after installation. It helps to increase electrical reliability, and minimize the overall financial risk of the project.
Sam Daye is Supervising Engineer at eti Conformity. For more than 30 years, eti Conformity Services has been performing field evaluations and has completed more than 40,000 projects throughout the United States and around the globe.
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