Residential PV Installations – Who Cares???

“It’s only a house, its not like anybody will come and check…”

This, unfortunately, are the words that get muttered far too often by sub-standard Solar PV Installers. The risk does not fall on them, The safety standards do not get adhered to, and then, when something goes wrong, and somebody gets injured, nobody knows what happened…

This seems to be the way things have been going in the Solar PV Industry. The sad bit here is that the homeowner has no idea whether any standards are being followed, and when questioning the installer, its far too easy for them to make it look like everything is done correctly. I think I speak for all self respecting Solar PV Installers when I say… THIS NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!!!

The reality is that this sort of behaviour causes damage to everybody’s future in this industry. The chances of something going wrong might be slim, however it is still there, and if something does go wrong it won’t be aimed at the company, but rather at the Industry. One can already hear it: 

  • “The industry is unregulated”
  • “Solar isn’t safe”
  • ” Why did this happen, where was the regulator?”

The other part is that areas that are regulated, do not get verified. For example, I got called to assist wityh a system that had a “blown” inverter. In the words of the the customer – “we were on the phone in the living room, when we heard a loud BANG in the inverter room, we think it exploded..”

Upon further investigation we found the following:

Take a closer look if you want to… the following will jump out at you:

The system is 3 Phase – however ther is only Single Phase Earth Leakage, this means the load is unbalanced, the unbalanced load all push out on the Yellow phase – Ironically, that is the same phase on which the blown inverter was…

Then you will notice that the installer extended a Live cable with a piece of Bare copper earth wire, and it was connected using a connector block…. On top of that one can clearly see that they are using a 2.5mm 4 Core cable for the 3 Phase system supply… I must at this point mention that this system is a Off-Grid System with 3 x 5KW Inverters in parralel. So I will not suggest anything less that a 10mm cable. 

The other thing is that teh 3-phase pump motor was not even connected to the 3pole Isolator… This was the just the top 4 of the items…

The actual Inverter Room was even worse – Battery Cables Connected directly to the batteries – no Isolator, not even a Fuse. The connector between the prallalel banks of the battery bank was simply twisted together, no BusBar. The DC PV Input had no disconnect (they at least had fuses in line).

This is just one site, we have a multitude of similar Case Studies, where it now costs the system owner a lot of money to rectify what is wrong, while the original installating party ran away with the money for the system.

The problem now is that the System Owner does not trust anybody, and it now becomes an actual nightmare to get them to allow us to rectify the system.

There are courses available, outlining the importance of following the standards, from LRG we also offer these courses and would love to ask all Residential PV Installers who might have the smallest question to contact us, or even to join us at one of these events, where we verify all standards.

We take this matter very serious and we don’t want anybody to damage the industry, or to injure a customer, due to lack of knowledge or Ignorance.

Kind Regards

Nick Bekker

Managing Director