Run by the sun
Run by the sun

How NOT To Install Solar Panels

Friday 02 October 2015

Solar panel installation requires real in-depth knowledge and expertise. We are regularly invited by electricians and electrical contractors to install PV solar because this area of electrical work is so specialist.

Solar panels generally require very little maintenance however, we do offer a maintenance service to new and existing clients to ensure that you achieve the best return from your investment in solar energy.

We were called recently by Leicester based building contractors to repair and amend a PV solar system for one of their clients who had unfortunately been left with a incomplete, unconnected installation. The work had been carried out so poorly it was as if they were attempting to break every rule which applied to installing solar as they went along.

To the untrained eye, a lot of the photos in this blog look harmless and to some extent as they should be. However, there were so many elements of the installation that were wrong that even if it had been connected and was working, it's likely that with winter weather just around the corner, it wouldn't have made it through the season.

Solar panels were unconnected to the inverter

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Once we got the scaffolding in place to take a closer look the the PV solar installed on this roof, we found cables tucked away under the panels completely unconnected to anything and rails that had been cut too long.

Damage to the tiles meant the roof had to be repaired

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In order to correct the installation, we had to commission a roofer to repair damage to the roof before realigning all the rails correctly, using the correct brackets and installing the panels again. As well as using the wrong brackets, the wrong sized clamps had been used which secure the solar panels to the rails.

Incorrect cables for a domestic solar installation

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This cable is too thin for a domestic solar installation and should have 3 cables rather than the 5 displayed in the image. It's almost as if the electrician found some cable just lying around...

We did get the PV solar system generating energy!

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Once we resolved the many problems and faults with this system, it did start generating energy and a tax free income!

Make sure your solar energy installer is MCS certified

In order to take advantage of the government's feed-in tariff scheme and generate a tax free income, it is a necessary requirement that your solar panel installer has the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) qualification. Even had this PV solar system been installed correctly, without the MCS qualification the electrician wouldn't have been unable to send off the necessary paperwork to be eligible for the government tariff. 

However, being MCS certified isn't always a good indication of whether a solar panel installer is capable of installing a system to a high professional standard. Understandably, most customers see their system working and believe it's operating as it should be. On many occasions we've detected faults with systems which have been costing customers money because they've not been working at their full capacity and at worse, put them and their family at risk of a house fire due to poor cabling.

If you have a PV solar system and you want a second opinion to see whether contact Simon Butt at Run By The Sun to arrange a site visit.