The stages of a solar installation and 'Do's and don'ts'

First, the rail, earthing and roof top isolators (under weathproof covers)

 

Then the dectite is installed to get the cables into the roof

 

 

Then the panels go up

 

Finally the inverter is installed, with an AC breaker in the switchboard

 

 

Other images of a few of our installations:

 

 

 

 


Do's and don'ts

1. Never walk on solar panels. If you see an installer doing this, call their boss.

2. Panels need to be set back at least 20cm from gutters.

3. Never overhang a roof edge, or roof cap

4. Only clamp panels where the manufacturer install manual says you can.

5. Add extra clamps in windy areas.

6. The delicate backsheet under the panel is a vital seal. Nothing can touch it

7. Ensure MC4 plugs are connected really tight to prevent arcing.

8. Transportation of a panel from vehicle to the roof is the most risky.

 

Why?

Your manufacturer panel waranty is likely to be null and void and they ALWAYS demand pictures of the installation before processing a warranty claim.

 

Overhanging edges, ridge caps allows updraughts to get under the panel and tear it off.

No warranty for that. Yes, we understand that you want to cram as many panels into that small roof area as possible and no-one can see it from the road, and it's not likely to be THAT windy in Perth..heard it all, but what if you get an inspection from the Clean Energy Regulator's inspector? The first thing they will demand is that you get it re-installed correctly. We politely tell people when quoting why they can't do what they want and some argue, but most just go off and find someone else who will do what they want. Fine by us.

 

Installing panels too close to the gutter means water will fly off the panels and miss the gutters altogether. Many people would say "so what?", but in some homes that means you are getting water into an area you really don't want it to go because water erodes.

 

The backsheet of a solar panel is a delicate plastic film build from a combination of plastics. It serves several vital purposes. It's a seal against moisture, insects and other critters, dirt and dust and it's an electrical insulator just like the insulation around a copper cable. If cables under the panels are not secured correctly they can flap up and damage the backsheet and once that happens, well anything can now get into your panel and damage it's effectiveness as well as compromising the electrical integrity of the panel.

 

All electrical connections need to be to manufacturer specifications as over time a loose connection can separate enough to cause a DC arc and fire on the roof. Therefore MC4 plugs which connect one panel to another need to be connected firmly (until they click).

 

Walking on solar panels puts pressure on the glass risking cracking or scratching, risks rubbing off the coating that allows the panel to self-clean, and can cause micro cracks in the solar cells if the panel flexes while being walked over.

 

Transportation of a panel from vehicle to rooftop is the most risky time for it. A bump against a wall on the way to the back of the house, against the gutter as it's being handed up, an accidental little drop onto the roof. All can either completely shatter the panel or create micro-cracks in the cells that over time will get worse. Of course panels are built to withstand a reasonable amount of mis-treatment but care in handling is still vital.

 

Right then..now to inside the roof, switchboard, inverter...

 

 
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