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How important is a earth spike on a solar installation


KeithP
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Hi All

I have a sunsynk inverter and 12 panels installed.

My first installer did not install a earth spike.  I have waited for months for COC. (yes he was paid, I know, I know…)

 

Eventually called installer #2, he and his electrician says earth spike is VERY NB.    He installed the earth spike and I have my COC now.  The earth spike is connected to both panel strings, the inverter and the two “trip” switches.  (if that is what they are called)

 

My question, how NB is the earth spike?

 

The guy that referred installer #1 to me, also does not have a earth spike. Installer #1 says it is not needed as his panels are installed on a zinc roof, and the roof should be earthed.

 

I would love to here your comments on the above. 

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30 minutes ago, KeithP said:

Hi All

I have a sunsynk inverter and 12 panels installed.

My first installer did not install a earth spike.  I have waited for months for COC. (yes he was paid, I know, I know…)

 

Eventually called installer #2, he and his electrician says earth spike is VERY NB.    He installed the earth spike and I have my COC now.  The earth spike is connected to both panel strings, the inverter and the two “trip” switches.  (if that is what they are called)

 

My question, how NB is the earth spike?

 

The guy that referred installer #1 to me, also does not have a earth spike. Installer #1 says it is not needed as his panels are installed on a zinc roof, and the roof should be earthed.

 

I would love to here your comments on the above. 

My installation does not have an earth spike. My panels are earthed to the ''house earth'', for me and this is my personal opinion, if my DSTV dish and water pipes are bonded to my house earth, why can't I do the same for the PV panels? 

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On 2022/01/09 at 4:07 PM, KeithP said:

My question, how NB is the earth spike?

NRS 097-2-1: 2017 Table B.3.

Earthing comments on the document mentions “earth electrode desired” 

In my opinion it is important to have the earth spike installed especially when it comes to lightning protection. Having that earth spike with surge protection devices might save you a couple of thousand of💲when the lightning choose your installation.

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I think one could get away not installing one (technically) in Cape Town. Lightning is a rare sight this side. Having lived most my life in JHB though, I can't see how anybody WOULDN'T have one installed in JHB and surrounds. Electrical storms there are apocalyptic at times.

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I installed a earthspike for my system.

Figured if it works its good,and if it doesnt it closes a loophole for the insurance company when there is a lightning claim.

They cost next to nothing compared to the rest of your install so you might as-well have it.

 

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I would say earth spike is a must.  

On 2022/01/10 at 8:36 PM, Gerrie said:

Only Incase of a TN system of electricity supply a earth electrode is normally not required this according to SANS 10142-1:2009

My problem with that statement is a number of earthing systems don't have a dedicated PE and all single phase installations break the line and neutral (as do some 3p installations).  And if you become disconnected from the supply (circuit breaker or otherwise), that means your earth in your house is floating with respect to the actual earth.  Which is a huge lighting risk.  Typically you would notice it, but since a solar install allows you to run disconnected from your supply, I would definitely say it is a no-no, as you could run without an earth and never notice.

Furthermore I'm going to say the electrician saying that a Zinc roof *should* be bonded is a cop out, because he should have verified that.  Its all good and well claiming things should have been done, but you need to verify it was done that way (and that the wire is sufficient thickness).  Overall I would definitely install a dedicated earth wire for anything that goes on a roof.

Overall electrical installs should be all about safety in case the worst situation happens.  Relying on the electrical supplier to provide your earth isn't in the spirit of that when you are running your own power generation.

Edited by Gnome
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On 2022/01/14 at 2:49 PM, Piper said:

Been looking up a bit and came accros this video.

Its a bit long but does explain the importance of grounding quite nicely.

 

Great video, Mike also acknowledged that nobody knows how lightning works, I was told the same when I done a lightning protection course years back. Most lightning studies are based on philosophies because it’s a very complexed subject with many different views.

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