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Per the NEC there is 36" clearance needed by a circuit panel. Is that 36" clearance just in front of panel, or is 36" clearance mandatory on the left / right and in front?

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The clearance is 36" in front and 30" side-to-side -- but that side-to-side clearance does not have to be centered on the panel as long as both edges are accessible.

Graphically, originally from Mike Holt: Mike Holt's illustration of clear working space

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    That is a great image and perfectly illustrates your point, but since it is clearly copyrighted by MikeHolt.com (there is a copyright notice on the image as well as on his site), reproducing it here violates that copyright unless Mike Holt gave permission for its use here. At the very least, you could provide a clear attribution and a link to the original page the image came from, but even then, it's technically against StackExchange content rules – Johnny Jun 21 '16 at 4:33
  • By both edges accessible, do you mean edges of the door to access the breakers as a home owner or edges of the panel to remove as a technician? – mlhDev Sep 5 '18 at 11:18
  • @mlhDev -- It's to the edge of the door (the door must be able to open 90 degrees) – ThreePhaseEel Sep 5 '18 at 11:33

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