Solar Panel Installation Report

The FIT application was submitted by email on Thursday evening without any problems. As the December 12th deadline was now approaching, my father also phone the supplier to confirm its receipt. I won’t go into too much more detail on this process as my previous blog on the 1st December can be read ( here ), this goes into a little more about the FIT application and submission procedure experienced with my own installation towards the end of November.

Today, my entry is really concentrating on providing a report and details of my father’s actual installation. As mentioned on my previous entry that an inspection would be required due to noticing and hearing a few disconcerting sounds. Also I have provided some photographs to show the finished East-West solar panel installation.

We first checked the loft area as this was an area where my father had heard a rather abrupt command of ‘stop’ by one of the fitters. On inspection we found that the top corner of the gable end internal wall where it joins the rafters and roof supports was showing a large hole. On closer inspection we found that the fitter must have been drilling upwards towards the ridge tiles. This had caused some of the masonry and block work to come away just underneath. He had then re-drilled horizontally some 150mm lower.

Next, while still in the loft, we found holes in the felt where the fitter must have stabbed at the felt with either a screwdriver or drill. Nearby he had used another hole to feed the solar array’s cabling through. Why he did not use the lap of the felt located just above to do this is just one of the questions we will be asking. Also we were horrified to see screws splitting down the sides of the rafters. Others were coming out at all sorts of angles with more that fifty percent of the screw not in the joist. Instead of using a pilot hole first, he must have just screwed-in causing several more instances of this on each side of the loft.

This stomach churning experience then continued on the outside. While looking up under the gable end we could see that a hole was drilled and then left unused in the fascia board. A tile was also hanging precariously just above, and the dry verge cap was no longer straight. Coming around the back of the house looking up at the ridge we could see that the end ridge-tile was longer sitting fixed to its bed of mortar.

A complaint will now be made detailing some of our findings. I will also try to borrow a long enough ladder to get up on the roof and see what else has been going on.

West side of East-West solar splitEast side of East-West solar split

How is the Solar Electric Monitored?

Now that the panels are up – I can monitor the solar pv electric generated by either the Sunny Boy inverter panel or alternatively using the generation meter. The generation meter provides just a digital readout which is basically all you need as this is what you will get paid on. As it’s all very new to me I’m not sure how these readouts and figures will be collected.

Solar Electric Generation MeterSunnyBoy Inverter LCD Panel

The Sunny Boy inverter however shows a little more detail with the help of some visual representation of the data using graphs and symbols on a black & green LCD panel located on the front of the unit.

The inverter apparently also employs blue-tooth connectivity which sounds rather exciting so I will probably give this a go at some point. I’ve already got my eye on this little device from Amazon.

Belkin Mini Bluetooth Adapter I think that it will be ideal for connecting to the Sunny Boy inverter via bluetooth. And for the price (details here) I think it’s a good deal and as the description below states, it will also have other uses too.

Product Descriptionn – Belkin Mini Bluetooth AdaptorStays connected to your laptop for quick and easy Bluetooth connections. This small adapter simply plugs into one of your laptop’s USB ports, quickly connecting you to the latest Bluetooth wireless technology. The Mini Bluetooth Adaptor communicates with mice, headsets, printers, phones, and other devices enabled with Bluetooth technology. Stays connected to your laptop for quick and easy Bluetooth connections. This small adapter simply plugs into one of your laptop’s USB ports, quickly connecting you to the latest Bluetooth wireless technology. The Mini Bluetooth Adaptor communicates with mice, headsets, printers, phones, and other devices enabled with Bluetooth technology. Features:Uses standard v2.0 + EDR and USB 2.0 to provide optimal performance Distance range of up to 10 metres Distance range of up to 10 metres Works with most devices enabled with Bluetooth technology

I’ll order one of these little blue-tooth devices and blog my findings on here later. For now though I can only monitor via the previous methods mentioned above. And as far as yesterday went, remembering is was not a full day of generation, it’s not looking too bad. The weather has been pretty kind for my solar panel installers this week. I will publish my first few day’s statistics at the weekend.

Solar Installation All Set To Go!

After lots of buts and deliberation the time has finally arrived for me to take my first steps in to the world of solar power harvesting and generation.

The scaffolding arrived and was erected today with good advisory comms prior from the installer. He has also informed me that my property was one of three in the area set to start on Monday morning with a solar pv install. As my array was relatively small it should be completed by Wednesday for a GRID connection and customer handover.

The weather is also looking good for next week – unlike what I was expecting compared to this time last year. I have booked some time off to be around for at least part of the installation process and handover.

I will try and get some photographs during the install to post on this blog and later in the week hopefully be able to give some data feed-back from my first day of generation.

For now though, Scaffolding up and ready for solar PV installationI have attached a photograph of my roof showing scaffolding up and ready for the solar installation team on Monday. I may, if I get time, get up there myself over the weekend  and do a few jobs. I need to seal a soil pipe stack and also the surrounding tile flashing needs re-pointing. Then if weather permits I will get some of the moss off where the solar panels will cover. I know, I am fussy but now is the time if I want to to it!