#1 June 3, 2014 16:24:00

SteveRogers
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Remedial work on array


I wonder if anyone has had any remedial work done on their PV system recently and could give me an idea of current labour costs.


My system showed an isolation (or insulation) resistance fault at the inverter back in February after heavy rain.  It seems that the DC cables, and in particular, connectors touching the roof surface under the panels can become damp after heavy rain and cause an earthing fault by a low resistance path between the cable and ground.  The inverter detects this isolation resistance and refuses to start.  This happened a couple of times back in February and again this morning.  Eventually the cables dry out and the inverter starts.  A couple of engineers looked at the system and agreed this was the problem but could not do the remedial work because of the inclement weather.


The solution is simple - erect scaffolding, lift the panels one by one and tie up the cables so they don't touch the roof.  Then check the earth resistance of the arrays.


Although my system is still under guarantee I found out today that my installer declared insolvency in April - probably a common story for many of us.  I am enquiring of the liquidator whether I have any claim though I don't hold any hope of this.  So I think I am on my own.  I could just take the view that the fault is infrequent and not worth fixing, but it might get worse.


So, can anyone give me an idea what to expect for the cost of, say, half a day's labour (including some minimal scaffolding)?


Steve


URN 215 North Yorkshire 3.96 kWp, S facing, 40 deg tilt, minor shading





Edited SteveRogers (June 3, 2014 16:24:00)

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#2 June 4, 2014 08:14:00

bhommels
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Remedial work on array


Hi Steve, sorry to hear about the faults. Hopefully it is not the onset of a wider problem… The scaffolding required to install my array at the time cost £ 160 ex VAT. The house is a semi, and the south side of the garden is paved and has good access if that makes any difference. I would think labour would be around £ 40 per person, per hour? Good luck with fixing the issue, Bart





Edited bhommels (June 4, 2014 08:14:00)

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#3 June 4, 2014 08:53:00

daved42
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Remedial work on array


Hi   I have had a similar experiance with earth leakage.  Installer going out of buisness, checking supply voltage, inverter set to german grid settings,changing SMA inverter,and after 2 y'rs finding inferior 1st and last string connectors + one had been trapped and insulation damaged. During my 24 months of hell I discovered that iff at the time of instalation the installer was a member of REAL and MCS I could qualify for a claim.  I did'nt have to, but thought this may help.  





Edited daved42 (June 4, 2014 08:53:00)

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#4 June 4, 2014 12:38:00

SteveRogers
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Remedial work on array


Hi Dave and Bart,


Thanks, your comments are helpful.  I'll contact REAL/MCS and see if what's on offer as the installer was registered with both at the time of installation.


My installer sub-contracted the engineers from another company to inspect the system back in February (and I bet the other company are now creditors in the liquidation).  I've asked this other firm for a quote for the work. The scaffolding only needs to go to bungalow height as it's a dormer roof and the engineers said they had their own.


OTOH,  the fault has only occured on 4 days this year and I've managed to get the inverter started by 10 am each time so have only lost a few kWh total.  On that basis it would not be worth the cost of getting it rectified (but it might get worse).  I might also see what I can do myself first from the gutter level in case there's a poorly placed cable within reach.


This is an SMA 3600TL inverter with two strings.  If anyone has this problem it is worth know that you can start the inverter on just one string and then immediately bring the other string in (by using the DC switches next to the inverter).  This assumes that one string is more poorly isolated than the other, which is the case here.


Sorry to hear about your horror story, Dave.


Steve


URN 215 North Yorkshire 3.96 kWp, S facing, 40 deg tilt, minor shading





Edited SteveRogers (June 4, 2014 12:38:00)

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#5 June 30, 2014 12:41:00

SteveRogers
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Remedial work on array


I finally got a quote from the company that inspected the system back in February for £315 including VAT.  The work involves lifting all the panels and tying up the DC cables so that they don't touch the roof - about 1/2 day's work including some scaffolding.  The work is guaranteed with  insurance backing by the Consumer Protection Association.


This seems quite reasonable, but since I've only lost a few hours of production in 5 months I've yet to make up my mind whether it's worth doing.  Obviously, peace of mind is a factor in the decision!  And I might not always be at home to start the system manually.


Steve


URN 215 North Yorkshire 3.96 kWp, S facing, 40 deg tilt, minor shading





Edited SteveRogers (June 30, 2014 12:41:00)

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#6 June 30, 2014 23:09:00

Capetown
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Remedial work on array


Sorry to hear about your problems Steve. When I had my PV installed, I got an insurance document from REIGA that covered remedial work should the original installers go  under. Did you get a certificate also?







The gene pool has no lifeguard!

Edited Capetown (June 30, 2014 23:09:00)

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#7 July 1, 2014 16:07:00

SteveRogers
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Remedial work on array


‘Fraid not, Cape Town.  Today I got a long pole and moved any connectors that were in the gullies in the roof tiles to the ridges.  Hopefully, that will stop them getting wet for now.


I’m guessing that another £315 at this stage will add another 6 months on to my payback period, allowing for lost interest on the capital.  But probably worth it for peace of mind.


Steve


URN 215 North Yorkshire 3.96 kWp, S facing, 40 deg tilt, minor shading





Edited SteveRogers (July 1, 2014 16:07:00)

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