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Legal implications of installing inverter + batteries in the house


suds7162

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I have been advised by one installer that it is not allowed to install an inverter and batteries in a domestic dwelling, and it must be done in an outbuilding like a garage. Another installer told me it's not a problem as long as the inverter and batteries are mounted against a firewall - brickway going all the way up to the roof. They did advise to install in the garage because of noise and so on.

I would prefer to have the installation done in the house, right next to my main DB board. I have space there, and I prefer to have everything close at hand for monitoring purposes. Monitoring the inverter and batteries via the app is all fine and well, but seeing battery SOC and inverter status by just walking past it every day is more convenient in my opinion. It will also save in costs, because I then don't have to run a long heavy cable to the garage for the electrical connections. 

I know there are some expert installers in the house. What's the forum's opinion on this?

I live in Pretoria if that makes a difference.

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I also understand there to be a regulation to install in a garage or outbuilding, for fire safety reasons. 

We installed in a Garage for space ad safety reasons. many years ago, with lead acid batteries that give off Hydrogen and other toxic gases which need to vent. Since this we moved to lifepo4 batteries, added mover inverters, and so on.

So the Garage was a good choice as it gave us space to grow the system, kept the noise of the inverters fans out of the house, and they sound like a swarm of bees when producing from the solar or if you charge the batteries from eskom, and the fans run all the time, noisier when charging / producing more PV / and or have a higher load.

In retrospect what I would have prefered would be a nice out door cabinet, climate controlled that could house the inverters and batteries bank, and that had a connector for eskom in, and supply out, which you could connect direct between your outdoor breaker and DB board, with a bypass changeover switch to bypass the pv, during times of maintenance and or failure of the pv. Ideally this out door cabinet could jusut stand next to your house 1m-2m and if it caught fire limits the risk to life.

All Batteries are typically a hazardous item, and you would not want to try and run past these when or if they catch fire in your house, many DB's seem to be in the passage (Middle of the house), even if they dont catch fire and only generate toxic gases due to a cell failure, you would much rather have this happen far away from where you are sleeping. So you dont suffocate and die.

Even if you do choose to install near the DB you will find that you end up moving the install to an outbuilding or garage as you grow the system.

 

Good Luck :)

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
20 hours ago, Abe53 said:

Hello Suds, get a silent inverter. Silence is golden! I also read that silent inverters use higher specification components and better design which promises longer life.

 

 

Where do people come up with this crap.

I would think an inverter that is able to operate at a lower temperate will be more effecient compared to an inverter operating at a higher temperate. Whether it last longer or not is not something that is impacted by a lot more than just heat.

Switching current will generate heat irrespective of whether the inverter is made of gold or lead. 

Drawing such a casual link between "silent" inverters and quality components is just short sighted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in exactly the same situation suds7162, except I don't have a garage so they want to install it outside in an outdoor equipment rack and I don't know which worries me more now, it being outside or inside. 😑 I've had over 12 quotes and only 1 has said it can't be inside so I don't know what the legalities are. 

If anyone knows or has paperwork, please share!

Edited by Empowered
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On 2023/03/26 at 6:37 PM, suds7162 said:

I have been advised by one installer that it is not allowed to install an inverter and batteries in a domestic dwelling,

Whenever anyone makes such claims or states them as "facts", it's always a good idea to ask them to provide the documentation and references of such "rules/regulations". In the absence of that proof it is just another rumour.

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My opinion on the matter has shifted somewhat. I think it's unreasonable to expect such installations to be installed in an outbuilding always. Not all dwellings have outbuildings. So I don't see it as being a problem, other than needing to deal with noise possibly. 

The chance of the batteries going nuclear and burning your house down is pretty slim, especially if it's LFP chemistry batteries. Maybe if you have some diy bank it's a different story, but when you do that you take on a lot of risk anyway.

Having said that, Sunsynk inverters and batteries are IP64 rated, so you can do the install outside if you have to.

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I've been trying to find SANS documentation but it's proving to be difficult. I found the attached reference on a website for an organisation called SAPAC, published on 18 April. As you can see, the grammar isn't great so it isn't clear whether it's legit or not:

The installation of inverter and battery should be done behind a 120min firewall outside the living space area to protect you as owner form fire and poisonous fumes that might rise from the system when there is a major fault, or an existing fire arise.

Here's a link: (it's long so search for inverter - its the second reference): This is what you need to know with regards to solar PV systems fire protection and structural stability.

 

SAPAC-quote.jpg

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  • 10 months later...

Dear Empowered,

Thank you for referencing the information. Regarding the grammar situation, this is being rectified. As you are all aware, there is a lot of pressure. Here at SAPAC, we are working against time to improve the industry.

However, to clarify the grammar mistakes, they are being rectified one post at a time. As you are also aware, most electricians are playing catch-up with [fixing] illegal installations.

I can assure you that the site is legitimate and that SAPAC is part of the community within the electrical field.

Regarding the issues being identified, we are working in accordance with a set of specific procedures to ensure that those who do not comply are eventually held accountable, so to speak.

If you want to know more, you can visit our website at https://sapac.co.za.

Herewith a FRESH LINK https://sapac.co.za/blogs/news/20240215-1059-legal-requirements-for-solar-pv-management-system

I remind you, to look, see and Read TO who the source is that provided the information to SAPAC. And to refrain from comments like this: 

On 2023/04/21 at 12:12 PM, Empowered said:

As you can see, the grammar isn't great so it isn't clear whether it's legit or not:

 

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