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SANS and Solar Panel installations - a question...


JAvandermerwe
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Good day all
I recently had 3660w of solar panels installed (12 panels in 3s4p). But I recently developed some doubts about whether the installation is fully up to standards and requirements.¬†Can anybody shed some light (provide extracts preferably¬†ūüôā) on what SANS requires from residential PV installations? In particular, what does it say about:

- earthing the PV array - is it required by law?

- earthing to home DB earth vs separate earth spikes

- surge arrestors on the PV Cables (I've only got fuses on each string positive and a single 2pole breaker across it all)

- PV cable thickness (over +|- 15m)

- The need to get a COC on the PV installation (I got a COC on the original battery & inverter installation, but the panels were only added a year later) 


I had tried to google for this info, but it seems SANS regs can only be purchased for over R1000? Curious why that would be.
Anyway, I am just trying to assess if my current installation needs remedial action, and I've seen quite a few varied and sometimes opposing opinions on some of the points above (eg on spike vs home DB earthing) across various forums. The regulatory requirements would be a good starting point for a conversation with my installer.

Any help would be much appreciated!

JAVA

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Hello.

I'm no license electrician, but I like to do the installation to Solar PV COC standard.

I know someone that can give a COC on solar system and check the work is correct.  

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- earthing the PV array - is it required by law?

 

I'll hope so yes. My sister them order the new SANS book for their work. will check.

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- earthing to home DB earth vs separate earth spikes

I think it is the same but I can be wrong.

 

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

surge arrestors on the PV Cables (I've only got fuses on each string positive and a single 2pole breaker across it all)

I have fuse on all lines, surge protect and DC Breaker in my DC box for the PV

 

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

PV cable thickness (over +|- 15m)

All depends on the PV, Inverter MPPT and Amps setup, but a 6mm PV cable is a nice size on one string but all like I said it depends on the Setup. I use 6 mm per string.

 

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

The need to get a COC on the PV installation (I got a COC on the original battery & inverter installation, but the panels were only added a year later) 

Need to get a new COC.

Please can you send photos of the installation?

Like I said. I'm not a Electrician and I like to always say, extra safety is always better.

Please. if I'm wrong, please help me right, we all here to learn. 

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To add to Barry above... having just had my 2nd system signed off yesterday by a 3rd party Electrical company for COC and registration with CoCT

NOTE: I am also not a licensed electrician and the below is from my personal experience with one

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- earthing the PV array - is it required by law?

Yes

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- earthing to home DB earth vs separate earth spikes

Separate spike (for CoCT at least). If you have multiple arrays separate from each other, they each will need their own spike.

For what it is worth, the reason behind this is there is a max resistance allowed on an earth connection and generally the distance from panels to DB to original spike will create a higher than allowed resistance. Also some grid installation have a bonded / supplied earth which confuses things even more.

 

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- surge arrestors on the PV Cables (I've only got fuses on each string positive and a single 2pole breaker across it all)

Not a requirement but strongly advised to protect your investment. Only requirement is a PV cutoff and in certain areas (i.e. Stellenbosch) an external fireman's switch.

Personally, I would recommend a fuse on both positive and negative sides, a surge arrestor and the required cutoff.  Also to keep in mind.. over a certain amount of strings, you need to have a combiner box and not connect all on the roof. I am not sure on this number 

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- PV cable thickness (over +|- 15m)

As per Barry... This would very much depend on your panels. Based on the general specs you have given... 6mm would be suitable but I would double check this agains the actual spec's of your panels

On 2020/10/25 at 1:21 AM, JAvandermerwe said:

- The need to get a COC on the PV installation (I got a COC on the original battery & inverter installation, but the panels were only added a year later) 

Yes, you will need a new / updated COC... This would be required for the registration of your panels as well as your insurance company

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@Barryv, @Jay-Dee awesome, thanks for taking the time guys. What you are saying makes sense to me, and accords with what I've managed to informally work out from the various forums.

I will take a pic of the key parts of the setup, and post them here later to show you what it looks like.

 

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