The Electrical Contracting Foundation has recognized a need to better understand the photovoltaic (PV) market. The organization voted to fund a study of the emerging technology in July. Led by Professor Thomas E. Glavinich of the University of Kansas, the study will estimate the size of the market, recommend strategies for electrical contractors to enter this business and define best practices for installing PV systems. While the technology has been around for years, a new generation of photo-sensitive roofing and glazing materials, and the movement toward green building practices, promises to transform and expand the use of PV systems.

The foundation has also noted that the increasing use of these materials is 'sparking turf wars among various building trades.' A further goal of the study will be to provide results that will help the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), a founding member of the foundation, develop a National Electrical Installation Standard on PV systems. 'The questions surrounding responsibility for installing photovoltaic systems are serious and they're real,' a press release quoted Brooke Stauffer, executive director for standards and safety at NECA, as saying. 'But since these systems generate electricity, our members are definitely going to be involved.'