The City of Phoenix has continued dialog with the solar industry and other stakeholders to enact some solar code changes that generally increase the area of residential one- and two- family dwelling roof areas that can be utilized for photovoltaic arrays.  This has been done by reducing the required pathways for fire access.  The major changes are:

Pathways to ridge. Not fewer than two 36 inch- wide (914 mm) pathways on separate roof planes, from lowest roof edge to ridge, shall be provided on all buildings. Not fewer than one pathway shall be provided on the street or driveway side of the roof. For each roof plane with a photovoltaic array, not fewer than one 36-inch- wide (914 mm) pathway from lowest roof edge to ridge shall be provided on the same roof plane as the photovoltaic array, on an adjacent roof plane or straddling the same and adjacent roof planes.

Setbacks at ridge. For photovoltaic arrays occupying 33 percent or less of the plan view total roof area, a setback of not less than 18 inches (457 mm) wide is required on both sides of a horizontal ridge. For photovoltaic arrays occupying more than 33 percent of the plan view total roof area, a setback of not less than 36 inches (457 mm) wide is required on both sides of a horizontal ridge.

Alternative setbacks at ridge. Where an automatic sprinkler system is installed within the dwelling in accordance with Section 903.3.1.3, setbacks at the ridge shall conform to one of the following:

    1. For photovoltaic arrays occupying 66 percent or less of the plan view total roof area, a setback of not less than 18 inches (457 mm) wide is required on both sides of a horizontal ridge.

    2.For photovoltaic arrays occupying more than 66 percent of the plan view total roof area, a setback of not less than 36 inches (914 mm) wide is required on both sides of a horizontal ridge.

For more information see: Phoenix Fire Code Changes 3-8-2021