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Appalling install... Am I missing DC isolators too? Help please!

Discuss Appalling install... Am I missing DC isolators too? Help please! in the Solar PV Forum | Solar Panels Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

eldaniel

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Hi all,

I hope you can help me please. I had solar system installed nearly 2 months ago and my installer turned out to be cowboy despite having all necessary certification, Which trusted trader, you name it... They were already back to take the panels off, repair the roof and install panels once again as first bunch of subcontractors installed the hook on top of the slates by drilling through them and in a process breaking many.
They have stated incorrectly on MCS certificate that installation is building reg exempt under schedule 2 which I think it is not the case. I have read schedule 2 and I can't see a single reason how. Also until I asked they were not going to issue me with Part P of the building reg or structural survey of the roof. So I am still missing Building reg certificate 2 months after install.
Not to mention that they have applied for wrong DNO (G98, instead of G99), so I am still awaiting that despite being nearly 2 months after install.
Now I went through the pack they sent me and noticed many more potential issues:
1. On the schematic it show that I should have 2 DC isolators (1 for each string). I have just checked and does not look like I have any (please see the photos). On the pack I received it says in a row DC isolator rating and make - "DC16 isolator" and in a row where it says AC isolator it says "20A Pole AC isolator".
2. They meant to be 2 AC isolators. I can only see 1 in the loft and none in the cupboard unless the black switch that they have added to consumer unit is called AC isolator (sorry if thats a stupid question). Black switch that they have added is not RCD protected. Is it mandatory that it must be?
3. On location of the equipment photo it is written that generation meter is in the loft where in fact is in the cupboard next to electricity meter.
4. Worth mentioning that they were not going to issue me with EIC of the installtion until I asked for one! Apparently he will come in this week to issue me with one. We will see about that...
5. Installation includes the battery. Should this not be included in the schematic? Is that not relevant to DNO?

If they have to submit those schematics to DNO it looks like a lot of info they have submitted (or should I say resubmitted) is incorrect.

Could you please give me advice which of those issues are critical and should be corrected and which ones I should not worry about? I would really appreciate your help. Many thanks
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If they were willing to bodge an old incompatible breaker (black switch as you've described it) in place then I doubt the veracity of any EIC they are willing to give.

That looks like the older Contactum series of breakers which are I believe incompatible with the newer ones widely available - so the correct option if there wasn't a spare one would have been to put a new sub board in.

I'm not experienced enough with PV installs so say whether the rest of the install is satisfactory, though it doesn't appear to match up exactly with either the diagrams you have.

In the Example layout, I don't see the need for 2 AC isolators (4) after the meter, so the one you appear to have may well be adequate. The breaker (black switch) will isolate the live, but not neutral, which a 2 pole isolator of the sort shown on the diagram does.

DC isolators seem to be a black switch similar to the depiction in the sample layout.
 
1. On the schematic it show that I should have 2 DC isolators (1 for each string). I have just checked and does not look like I have any (please see the photos). On the pack I received it says in a row DC isolator rating and make - "DC16 isolator" and in a row where it says AC isolator it says "20A Pole AC isolator".
The DC isolators should be local to the installation which is a fancy way of saying right next to it. These are run straight in by the looks of it, and the route they've taken over other cabling is poor imo. Having said that, the inverter literally has an inbuilt isolator on it so there's really no need to have another from an isolation point of view although it's good practice to have one, because this gives extra electrical separation between the DC and the install ie you're not relying on the internals of the inverter to do it and can switch it off separately.

DC can be tied into one isolator with two strings, doesn't necessarily need to be two x iso's.

Because there's no isolator what you cannot now do is perform a physical amperage test on them without causing arcing. What we do is we isolate, plug the pos and neg together, turn back on and then perform the amperage test, before isolating again to unplug. If you unplug them without the isolation you're going to have a massive arc occur (big blue flash). One or two of these can be enough to knacker the MC4's.
2. They meant to be 2 AC isolators. I can only see 1 in the loft and none in the cupboard unless the black switch that they have added to consumer unit is called AC isolator (sorry if thats a stupid question). Black switch that they have added is not RCD protected. Is it mandatory that it must be?
The switch in the board is a breaker which shouldn't be used because it's not the same as the rest of the board is using. Should be RCD protected.

We're always told we need two isolators - one at the board and one local. If the install is next to the board you can use one. (I install these 5 days a week, exact same set ups.)
3. On location of the equipment photo it is written that generation meter is in the loft where in fact is in the cupboard next to electricity meter.
Meh this is a technicality which has no bearing on the safety or functionality of the install.
5. Installation includes the battery. Should this not be included in the schematic? Is that not relevant to DNO?
Technically the battery isn't part of the electrical installation since it has to go through the inverter before becoming a usable part of the circuitry. It's on the schematic but looks like they've given you a picture drawing of a set up that doesn't have a battery. Doesn't make any difference to the install honestly, it's not like anyone looking at it is going to miss the battery and not realise it's there.

Other things i've spotted:
  • More labels are needed on the inverter and on the DC cable.
  • Consumer unit needs a sticker warning of dual supply.
  • CT clamp looks like it's on fine.
  • CT clamp is running up through the ceiling and not into the trunking by the looks of it. I would have run it in the existing.
  • If you can't set it up to use trunking, which would be the best method, then cables should be clipped instead of just free hanging all over the place.
  • The inverter should be hung on a fireproof board since they can get pretty hot. That looks like it's installed directly on chipboard.
Can you take some pics of the display on the inverter?
 
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If they were willing to bodge an old incompatible breaker (black switch as you've described it) in place then I doubt the veracity of any EIC they are willing to give.

That looks like the older Contactum series of breakers which are I believe incompatible with the newer ones widely available - so the correct option if there wasn't a spare one would have been to put a new sub board in.

I'm not experienced enough with PV installs so say whether the rest of the install is satisfactory, though it doesn't appear to match up exactly with either the diagrams you have.

In the Example layout, I don't see the need for 2 AC isolators (4) after the meter, so the one you appear to have may well be adequate. The breaker (black switch) will isolate the live, but not neutral, which a 2 pole isolator of the sort shown on the diagram does.

DC isolators seem to be a black switch similar to the depiction in the sample layout.

I can confirm that the new Contactum MCB’s aren’t compatible with the old boards as I’ve recently been in touch with their technical help desk with a query.

I pulled one of these old boards out on Thursday and harvested the MCB’s. I’d offer up the 32A one but it’s from the 71 series and not the 90 series, so not entirely sure if it would fit better than what’s already there.
 
I struggle to understand how the consumer unit has a sticker with 03/Jul/22 date of inspection, but a hole in the front big enough to put your finger in?

Isn’t that todays date…🧐
 
I can confirm that the new Contactum MCB’s aren’t compatible with the old boards as I’ve recently been in touch with their technical help desk with a query.

I pulled one of these old boards out on Thursday and harvested the MCB’s. I’d offer up the 32A one but it’s from the 71 series and not the 90 series, so not entirely sure if it would fit better than what’s already there.
I believe they used to sell an "adapter", which was basically a bent piece of copper that filled in the slight difference between lower terminal position with the older busbar - but it was withdrawn because of safety concerns
 
I struggle to understand how the consumer unit has a sticker with 03/Jul/22 date of inspection, but a hole in the front big enough to put your finger in?
That's correct I had EICR done on a whole house yesterday by independent electrician but I went through solar report after he left so I have not been able to ask him all this questions. He did point the hole out and mentioned about the old circuit breaker. He said he will put all that in the report but I have not received the report yet. He suggested upgrading RCD consumer unit as a whole because at the moment kitchen is not included in RCD protection.
 
Hi all,

I hope you can help me please. I had solar system installed nearly 2 months ago and my installer turned out to be cowboy despite having all necessary certification, Which trusted trader, you name it... They were already back to take the panels off, repair the roof and install panels once again as first bunch of subcontractors installed the hook on top of the slates by drilling through them and in a process breaking many.
They have stated incorrectly on MCS certificate that installation is building reg exempt under schedule 2 which I think it is not the case. I have read schedule 2 and I can't see a single reason how. Also until I asked they were not going to issue me with Part P of the building reg or structural survey of the roof. So I am still missing Building reg certificate 2 months after install.
Not to mention that they have applied for wrong DNO (G98, instead of G99), so I am still awaiting that despite being nearly 2 months after install.
Now I went through the pack they sent me and noticed many more potential issues:
1. On the schematic it show that I should have 2 DC isolators (1 for each string). I have just checked and does not look like I have any (please see the photos). On the pack I received it says in a row DC isolator rating and make - "DC16 isolator" and in a row where it says AC isolator it says "20A Pole AC isolator".
2. They meant to be 2 AC isolators. I can only see 1 in the loft and none in the cupboard unless the black switch that they have added to consumer unit is called AC isolator (sorry if thats a stupid question). Black switch that they have added is not RCD protected. Is it mandatory that it must be?
3. On location of the equipment photo it is written that generation meter is in the loft where in fact is in the cupboard next to electricity meter.
4. Worth mentioning that they were not going to issue me with EIC of the installtion until I asked for one! Apparently he will come in this week to issue me with one. We will see about that...
5. Installation includes the battery. Should this not be included in the schematic? Is that not relevant to DNO?

If they have to submit those schematics to DNO it looks like a lot of info they have submitted (or should I say resubmitted) is incorrect.

Could you please give me advice which of those issues are critical and should be corrected and which ones I should not worry about? I would really appreciate your help. Many thanks
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Hi, Did you get a satisfactory outcome to this issue? There is no doubt it was a very poor installation
 
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