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Solar panels on new builds

  • 23-06-2019 11:52am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭ leftism


    Hi folks,
    i was up at my brother's new gaff there yesterday giving him a hand with a few jobs. He recently bought a semi-D in a new development and (as with all new builds) the house came with solar panels installed on the roof.

    So the developers look to have installed 2 x thermal panels for the water heating and 2 x 250W PV panels. Every house in the estate appears to have the same setup. Anyways, curiosity got the better of me and i went up into the attic to take a look. Thermal panels are plumbed in and working fine. He had a 150L tank sitting at 59deg yesterday evening. However, the PV panels were a different story...

    By the looks of things, the panels have micro-inverters, because the only thing coming from the roof into the attic was a single line of 3 core cable connected to an AC isolation box marked "PV". From there, they'd literally ran about 10m of 3 core cable off the isolation box and connected it to a single domestic socket which was lying loosely underneath some rockwool in the attic.

    There are 80 newly built houses in that estate, so by my estimation, there's 40kW of newly installed PV panels that are effectively connected to nothing.

    It got me thinking. How many other developers around the country are doing the exact same thing? I'd imagine they have looked at the regulations and figured out this is the cheapest/easiest way to meet the building regulations. Admittedly, connecting PV panels into a domestic system is bit more complex than plumbing in some thermal panels. You either need a grid tie or battery storage system which adds substantial cost. But it seems like a massive waste to be installing these PV panels when they are sitting on a roof doing nothing…

    Anyone else have similar experiences?


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    2x250w is too small for a home,to be effective.
    They will power the base load over a good sunny day,help owner reduce the electricity bill but not massive savings.The PVs could be upgraded with few more panels and microinverters,tricky install but what worries me how do I know they produce and how can I read it.

    Solar tubes will bring a massive savings across the 12 months of the year,with from March to November warm water.

    Yes you correct in saying is a cheap way to do it but overall,across estate is a good background generator working for the environment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭ leftism


    rolion wrote: »
    2x250w is too small for a home,to be effective.
    They will power the base load over a good sunny day,help owner reduce the electricity bill but not massive savings.The PVs could be upgraded with few more panels and microinverters,tricky install but what worries me how do I know they produce and how can I read it.

    Solar tubes will bring a massive savings across the 12 months of the year,with from March to November warm water.

    Yes you correct in saying is a cheap way to do it but overall,across estate is a good background generator working for the environment.

    I think you missed my point. The developers haven't hooked the PV panels up to anything. They're sitting on the roof doing nothing...


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,128 ✭✭✭ Ubbquittious


    rolion wrote: »
    tricky install but what worries me how do I know they produce and how can I read it.


    Clamp ammeter should do it. If you don't have the spinning disc electricity meter it must be a bit of a nuisance

    Stellantis: All the sh1t brands under one roof



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 6,367 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Macha


    I'm moving this to the Renewable Energies form. You might get a few more responses there.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,833 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    leftism wrote: »
    By the looks of things, the panels have micro-inverters, because the only thing coming from the roof into the attic was a single line of 3 core cable connected to an AC isolation box marked "PV". From there, they'd literally ran about 10m of 3 core cable off the isolation box and connected it to a single domestic socket which was lying loosely underneath some rockwool in the attic.

    That's shocking. I'm no expert but surely that's against the building regulations, that core cable should have terminated in the consumer unit with its own group. Those micro inverters are grid tie

    PM kceire who is a regular on this forum, he works in this area and ask him to reply here

    Someone should bring that developer to task :(

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,287 ✭✭✭ n97 mini


    unkel wrote: »
    That's shocking. I'm no expert but surely that's against the building regulations, that core cable should have terminated in the consumer unit with its own group. Those micro inverters are grid tie

    PM kceire who is a regular on this forum, he works in this area and ask him to reply here

    Someone should bring that developer to task :(

    If true that's shocking!

    But, most inverters are grid tie, so OP, what inverter is installed? Is it possible that that you are missing something?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,244 ✭✭✭ dathi


    leftism wrote: »
    Hi folks,



    the only ran about 10m of 3 core cable off the isolation box and connected it to a single domestic socket which was lying loosely underneath some rockwool in the attic.



    Anyone else have similar experiences?

    are there any other cables running out of the single socket box? if so they have connected it to a socket ring and through that to the rest of the house electrics


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    dathi wrote: »
    are there any other cables running out of the single socket box? if so they have connected it to a socket ring and through that to the rest of the house electrics

    Corect... those cables are speced at more than 2 x 250W loading power.
    No point to bring it down to fuse panel.

    My Q is how do you monitor and "islanding" the units ?!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,258 ✭✭✭ threeball


    dathi wrote: »
    are there any other cables running out of the single socket box? if so they have connected it to a socket ring and through that to the rest of the house electrics

    Which if true would be illegal as the circuit would still be live when the mains fuse is isolated. Someone will get a nasty surprise some day.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,287 ✭✭✭ n97 mini


    threeball wrote: »
    Which if true would be illegal as the circuit would still be live when the mains fuse is isolated. Someone will get a nasty surprise some day.

    All certified grid tie inverters are anti-islanding. If they don't detect mains they shut off.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,257 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    leftism wrote: »
    I think you missed my point. The developers haven't hooked the PV panels up to anything. They're sitting on the roof doing nothing...

    I would report them to the local building control authority.


  • Registered Users Posts: 55 ✭✭ Ning


    Name and shame. If they're cutting corner on this, who knows what else they are cutting corners on.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    Any chance of some photos .. please !?


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,101 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BryanF


    Ning wrote: »
    Name and shame. If they're cutting corner on this, who knows what else they are cutting corners on.

    Not here, thank you


  • Registered Users Posts: 518 ✭✭✭ leftism


    Thanks Macha for moving this post and thanks to everyone for all the comments.

    The only cabling coming off those PV panels is a single line of 3 core domestic flex which is hanging loosely in the attic. It terminates at a small isolation box with a switch on the front. (Switch position is off, so the panels are isolated and definitely not running any AC into the house or grid at present). From there, another line of loose 3 core domestic flex connected to a single consumer socket box that you'd typically mount on a wall. The guy hadn't even mounted the socket box to anything. It was lying on top of the rock-wool in the attic! There is no cabling coming off this socket box.

    I've checked with a multimeter and this is the only cabling coming off the panels into the house. So unless i'm very much mistaken, these panels are nothing more than a fancy ornament on the roof...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,364 ✭✭✭ rolion


    leftism wrote: »
    Thanks Macha for moving this post and thanks to everyone for all the comments.

    The only cabling coming off those PV panels is a single line of 3 core domestic flex which is hanging loosely in the attic. It terminates at a small isolation box with a switch on the front. (Switch position is off, so the panels are isolated and definitely not running any AC into the house or grid at present). From there, another line of loose 3 core domestic flex connected to a single consumer socket box that you'd typically mount on a wall. The guy hadn't even mounted the socket box to anything. It was lying on top of the rock-wool in the attic! There is no cabling coming off this socket box.

    I've checked with a multimeter and this is the only cabling coming off the panels into the house. So unless i'm very much mistaken, these panels are nothing more than a fancy ornament on the roof...

    Is it too much to ask for few photos,internal and / or external, please !?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,257 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    leftism wrote: »
    Thanks Macha for moving this post and thanks to everyone for all the comments.

    The only cabling coming off those PV panels is a single line of 3 core domestic flex which is hanging loosely in the attic. It terminates at a small isolation box with a switch on the front. (Switch position is off, so the panels are isolated and definitely not running any AC into the house or grid at present). From there, another line of loose 3 core domestic flex connected to a single consumer socket box that you'd typically mount on a wall. The guy hadn't even mounted the socket box to anything. It was lying on top of the rock-wool in the attic! There is no cabling coming off this socket box.

    I've checked with a multimeter and this is the only cabling coming off the panels into the house. So unless i'm very much mistaken, these panels are nothing more than a fancy ornament on the roof...

    If it bothers you, you should report to the Building Control Authority. Posting on here will achieve nothing i'm afraid.
    This is bigger than just your house. It could be widespread breaches of the Building Control Act, Building Regulations, SEAI Regulations and ultimately the Countries requirements for Carbon Emissions under the EU directive.

    The builder may have done this on many other homes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,287 ✭✭✭ n97 mini


    The builder of a housing estate in North Dublin didn't install enough attic insulation and was told to retrofit the required amount. When it came to doing it a lad called to the door and offered the owners €200 cash, or the insulation.

    In this case it sounds like an oversight possibly, as everything has already been fitted.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 58,833 CMod ✭✭✭✭ unkel


    n97 mini wrote: »
    In this case it sounds like an oversight possibly, as everything has already been fitted.

    The cynic in me reckons the builder had low pay general building lads install as is (for appearances) and didn't want to pay for a much more expensive RECI electrician to hook it up properly to the consumer unit.

    I urge the OP to contact the relevant authorities.

    "Wind is Ireland's oil" - An Taoiseach, 25/05/2022



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,287 ✭✭✭ n97 mini


    unkel wrote: »
    The cynic in me reckons the builder had low pay general building lads install as is (for appearances) and didn't want to pay for a much more expensive RECI electrician to hook it up properly to the consumer unit.

    I urge the OP to contact the relevant authorities.


    I dunno. It's quite common for electrical firms to get apprentices etc to do all the actual work, and then inspect and sign off on it.


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 31,257 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Gumbo


    n97 mini wrote: »
    I dunno. It's quite common for electrical firms to get apprentices etc to do all the actual work, and then inspect and sign off on it.

    Not any more with the Building Control Amendment Regulations and BCAR certification process. Everything is certified to the hilt and then checked again.


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