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Course contents

How PV works & the components The benefits of solar electricity Is solar installation suitable for the property How to make the most of the energy Cost savings and maintenance Selling your own generated electricity Free solar schemes Planning permission How to install a system Roof fixings and considerations Cable requirements Safety procedures Calculating how many panels are required Testing and inspection Commissioning Servicing & maintenance FAQS

Course written by Keith Taylor

There are 3 main types.

Made up from 1 type of crystal

Made up of more than 1 type

Whats the difference?

A Monocrystalline Solar Panel is one of 3 common solar panels manufactured today. They are the most efficient and the most expensive. These panels are made of a large single crystal (cut from ingots). They perform better than its counterparts in low light conditions, such as cloudy days, but not by much. When there is low light, there is low energy to be captured. 15 21% efficient. Generally black in colour

Polycrystalline or Multicrystalline Silicon Cells: Made from cells cut from an ingot of melted and recrystallized silicon. In the manufacturing process, molten silicon is cast into ingots of polycrystalline silicon, these ingots are then saw-cut into very thin wafers and assembled into complete cells. Multicrystalline cells are cheaper to produce than Monocrystalline ones, due to the simpler manufacturing process. However, they tend to be slightly less efficient, with average efficiencies of around 12%-16%. They have a speckled crystal reflective appearance, and again need to be mounted in a rigid frame

Amorphous cells are manufactured by placing a thin film of amorphous (non crystalline) silicon onto a wide choice of surfaces. These are the least efficient and least expensive to produce of the three types. Due to the amorphous nature of the thin layer, it is flexible, and if manufactured on a flexible surface, the whole solar panel can be flexible. One characteristic of amorphous solar cells is that their power output reduces over time, particularly during the first few months, after which time they are basically stable. The quoted output of an amorphous panel should be that produced after this stabilisation.

A Voltage exits if there is a difference in the amount of charge between any two points. Voltage is the electric potential energy per unit of charge, measured in joules per coulomb (= volts). However it is the difference in the voltage quantity, which is physically meaningful. Conditions must be met before any charges \ electric current will flow.

Ohms Law It is useful at this stage to remind ourselves about the relationship between Volts (V), Amps (I) and Resistance (R). This can be best explained by using the Ohms law triangle

Ohms law states that if you have two of the values you can always find the third. In order to see this we can use the following example. Let us say that we have a circuit where we know the current is 20A and we have a resistance of 1.5 Ohms. To apply Ohms law we need to cover up the value that you are looking for and use the resulting formula to find the value. Here we need to find the voltage and have covered up the V in the triangle, this leaves us with I * R as a formula, we can then say: V = I X R which gives us the sum V = 20 X 1.5 = 30V This method can be repeated to find any value if we have the other two


Power Triangle The same method can be applied when we need to calculate the power in a circuit but we use a slightly different triangle that contains the values Watts (W), Amps (I) and Volts (V). As with Ohms law we need to cover up the value that we wish to find and we will be left with a formula to apply to find the missing value, in this example we are going to want to find the voltage (V) when we have the wattage (230W) and the current (7.93 A)

The difference between AC and DC current The difference between AC and DC is that AC is an alternating current (the amount of electrons) that flows in both directions and DC is direct current that flows in only one direction; the product that is flowing being electrons. AC power is what fuels our homes. The wires outside of our house are connected to AC generators. DC is found commonly in batteries and importantly for our purposes, solar photovoltaic cells. Both AC and DC employ magnets to repel electrons. Electrons are negatively charged particles that are one of 3 components that make up an atom. Negative charges will repel negative charges and positive charges will repel positive charges, so one only needs to introduce a negatively charged item next to electrons to force them to move in the opposite direction.

Likewise, you can attract electrons by introducing something that is positively charged into their environment drawing the electrons to it. This property of electrons is what allows for AC power to work; that is, they switch directions constantly. The picture above is a demonstration of AC power at work. DC power was invented by Thomas Edison and first used to power our homes in the late 1800s. Its main drawback being that in order to receive DC power from a generating station, your home had to be located within a one mile radius of the station. DC power degrades as it moves away from its generating source; the further away, the less power. This is an important fact to remember when considering the position of inverters in relation to photovoltaic modules

To produce more power cells can be wired together. When cells are connected in series the voltages add and the current remains the same as in one cell. When cells are connected in parallel the individual currents add and the voltage remains the same as in a single cell.

The current and power output is greatly affected by the irradiance level but the voltage is only marginally affected as shown by the following IV curves for various solar irradiance levels.

Temperature Response

Solar cells are also affected by a change in temperature. An increase in temperature causes a decrease in voltage and power and an insignificant increase in current. For crystalline cells the voltage is changed by an average of -0.5% per deg C change from 25C.

When selecting a Module type for installation it is important that the modules selected have the relevant type test approval depending on the type of module to be used: BS EN 61215:2005 Crystalline silicon terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules Design qualification and type approval or BS EN 61646:1997 "Thin film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules Design qualification and type approval"

(standards are currently being developed for glass/glass modules)

Type testing involves the manufacturers sending a module to an approved test house and they will apply certain tests to verify the modules resistance to external influences (weather, impact etc) and they will measure the modules performance under standard test conditions (STC) of 1000 Wm2 at 25C.

In the UK, when wanting to claim the feed in tariff for systems less than 50kWp, as well as ensuring that the modules meet one of the above type test standards it must be ensured that the manufacturing process can make sure that each module can meet these standards, this is called Factory production control (FPC). All modules that have MCS approval must have had a factory inspection against a recognised FPC standard, this will help to ensure that every module that is installed under the FiT scheme has met minimum performance standards. A module is an environmentally and structurally protected unit consisting of solar cells wired together. The cells are normally wired in series to create a higher voltage and occasionally wired in parallel to increase the current.

Modules can be of any size but due to its large size are usually limited to 300 Watts (>2m2). A typical module is 36 cells wired in series framed in aluminium and covered with glass. This produces an output of 125 watts (17.3v and 7.23 amps). This type of module is frequently used to charge 12v batteries. Some modules are sized to charge 24v or 48v battery banks and some modules made for grid tie systems have voltages as high as possible to minimize voltage drop.

All modules have a nameplate on the back showing its rated output in standard test conditions (stc). STC is when 1000W/m2 of irradiation is exposed to the module at a temperature of 25C.

This allows modules to be compared together but is not to be confused with the expected output of the modules which is normally lower due to system losses and less than ideal weather conditions.

A 1kWp grid connected PV system will achieve approximately 850kWh (SAP 2009) of energy over 1 year average across the UK (regional variations).

The 1kWp PV array will require approximately 9-12m2 of roof or exposed area; this is dependant of the type of module and cell construction to be used.
We also have to take into consideration the type and output of the inverter to be used. Sizing the array and inverter are very important as having an undersized inverter could cause installation failure and in the worse case the inverter may break down and cause a fire.

Note the most southerly part of England in red is actually 1300

Variations in solar radiation across the UK (figures are average kWh/m2 per year


The array itself should be installed pointing to true or grid south not magnetic south and angled at 30to 40 to horizontal (in UK) to achieve optimal performance. It can be tilted more or less to maximize production in summer or winter. Quite often this angle is controlled by the slope of the roof and the aesthetics. Most customers are unhappy with panels standing up off the roof and this can also cause problems with wind loading and planning permission.

Example 1:
In the ideal world you would find a roof facing due south at an inclination of 35 degrees. As long as there are no shading effects a 2kWp array should produce 1700kWh per year (2 x 850kWh as per SAP).

Example 2:
In the real world you may find that the only available roof space is facing east. Assuming the same array and inclination the array would only produce (1700kWh x 79%) = 1343 kWh. A system loss of 21% and remember the initial outlay of money is exactly the same.

Example 3:
On a bad day you may find that the only available roof space is north facing with an inclination of 60 degrees. A 2kWp array would then only produce (1700kWh x 37%) = 629 kWh a loss of 63%.

Example 4:

If you wish to produce a specific output it can be determined as in the following example. A 1200kWh annual output is desired for an array mounted on a SE facing roof with an inclination of 45 degrees. The desired output is then divided by the % of loss caused by orientation and inclination (8% or 0.92) and then that number is then divided by 850kWh to find the kWp of the array:
(1200kWh/0.92) x(1kWp/ 850kWh) = 1.5345 kWp.

The number of modules used can then be found by dividing the array size by the module size. In this example lets assume that the module size is 180Wp this would give you 15345Wp/180Wp = 8.525 modules. Thus to gain the output desired 9 modules would be needed.

SAP calculations are used to provide an estimate of the annual yield of a PV system using standard data. Whilst in some cases this may not be the most accurate the MCS scheme requires that all installers use this method therefore allowing the consumer to compare standard calculations across all quotes that they may receive For SAP calculations, the energy produced per year depends on the installed peak power (kWp) of the PV module (the peak power corresponds to the rate of electricity generation in bright sunlight, formally defined as the output of the module under radiation of 1 kW/m at 25C). PV modules are available in a range of types and some produce more electricity per square metre than others (the range for currently available types is from about 30 to 125 Watts peak per m), and the peak power depends on the type of module as well as its effective area.

In the UK climate, an installation with 1 kWp typically produces about 850 kWh of electricity per year (at favourable orientation and not over shaded). At times of high solar radiation the PV array may generate more electricity than the instantaneous electricity demand within the dwelling. The procedure for PV is as follows.

where S is the annual solar radiation from Table H2 (depending on orientation and pitch), Where Zpv is the over shading factor from Table H4 pg34/35

1) Establish the installed peak power of the PV unit (kWp). 2) The electricity produced by the PV module in kWh/year is 0.8 X kWp X S X Zpv = Total kWh output per year (given average irradiation)

Shading The potential for any PV system to be shaded has to be carefully assessed as any amount of shading can have a serious effect on the overall output of the system. Even shading of one module or even a single cell, can affect the output of the whole array as this places an increased resistance in the circuit therefore making it harder for the electrons to flow, in very extreme conditions this can lead to the overheating of cells and modules and result in premature module failure. This has to be considered when calculating the overall output and the following factors from table H4 of SAP 2009 should be used.

If there are two PV strings, e.g. at different tilt or orientation, apply the previous equation to each string and complete the calculation for each one independently of the other and then sum the annual electricity generation.

An inverter converts a DC (direct current) into a usable AC (alternating current). There are several types of outputs possible from an inverter. Square wave, Modified square wave and true sine wave are available but the true sine wave inverter is the only one that is allowed to be utility interactive. The modified square wave inverter is commonly used due to its lower cost in off grid applications. The power from the array converted by the inverter is then connected via isolators into the consumer unit via an MCB (miniature circuit breaker). Deciding on the type of inverter is down to the installation and the installer. The inverter must be sized not only for the maximum continuous output but also the range of DC voltages and currents from the array. Cost and efficiency are also major factors in choosing an inverter. In the UK an inverter must meet the standards set in ER G83/1 and ER G59/1. Some of these operating limits are shown on the next slide.

G83/1 Limits Limits for operating voltage or operating frequency

230V + 14.7%/-10% (207 264V) and 50Hz =1%/-6% (47 50.5 Hz) Anti islanding/ loss of mains protection Minimum reconnection time of 3 minutes after supply is restored Maximum trip time of 5s for PV systems or 0.5 seconds if the inverter cannot withstand being re-energized from a source that is 180 degrees out of phase. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) DC current injection max. 20mA

An unusable DC waveform

A waveform matched to supply, synchronised to a usable waveform back to grid.

From this.

To this.

The sizing of the array for mains connected PV systems is relatively simple due to the fact that it is connected in parallel with the utility. This allows the system to be of any size because the loads will always be supplied no matter what the output of the array is. This means the array size is only limited by the space available, the requirements needed to obtain market incentives, and of course the clients budget. When we select an inverter we must take account of the size of the array and the energy level requirements. Over sizing the inverter will increase installation costs and the inverter will not be used efficiently. Inverter sizing should always be done alongside manufacturers guidance and most manufacturers have online or downloadable sizing programs that are very effective. When we dont have the manufacturers data we should size an inverter typically to be 80% of the PEAK POWER (Wp) of the PV array. We undersize the inverter in the UK due to the relatively low solar radiation levels and expected losses such as soiling and voltage drop. As an example a 1kWp grid connected system generating around 800kWh a year will require an 800W inverter.

The output of the PV system should be estimated using the Governments standard assessment procedure for energy rating of buildings (SAP 2009). For PV systems Appendix M is to be used taking into account orientation, pitch and shading. Various programs are available using this procedure and others to simplify your life. SAP is the most commonly used and is accepted by MCS but this does not mean that it gives the most accurate results. The inverter should be installed on a solid vertical surface with adequate surrounding space for ventilation as the inverter will get warm during operation. This may require strong board to be installed. Some inverters are appropriately rated for outdoor installation and then AC cabling has to be routed into the building. For inverters only rated for indoor use the DC cabling has to be routed into the building. The DC and AC isolators associated with inverter should be easily accessible from the inverter position.

Inverter location must be acceptable with regards to:

AC system to be installed and tested to BS 7671:2008.

Weight bearing capacity of support IP rating of inverter Access (maintenance and testing) Ventilation Any displays / indicators clearly visible Live wiring precautions are to be followed if connecting up the inverter necessitates working around live DC connections.

Normally all grid connected inverters have a circuit that uses electronics to change the output of the array so that input of the inverter is continuously operating at the maximum power point even when temperature and irradiance are changing. Due to this the voltage at the input of the inverter will be lower than what would be normally expected. This voltage is approximately 80% of Voc. Efficiency, Longevity and Size. Most grid controlled inverters are rated at 90% to 98% efficiency over the majority of the operating range. The efficiency of the inverter drops drastically below 25% of the maximum input. The warranties on inverters range from 1 year to 20 years due to the different technologies used and production techniques. The most common is 5-10 years. Inverters come in many sizes. From a small one of a few watts for solar lighting to a few megawatts for utility generation.

All systems installed in the UK under 16A per phase must conform to G83 in respect of the requirement to disconnect form the grid, most inverters available are tested to achieve the requirements set out in G83. However great care must be taken to ensure that the inverter selected for the job, has got the correct certification to G83 as not all inverters are designed to meet this requirement.

When you are considering installing a PV installation on a roof, you will have to understand that the connections and cabling are not going to be the usual PVC/PVC twin and CPC cable used for domestic internal wiring. The PV wiring does have to be durable and protected against voltage constraints, mechanical damage, movement, wind, rain and solar radiation. (This is not an exhaustive list). Therefore maximum values need to be assessed.

To safely assess and size the cables we have to look at conditions that need to be satisfied.
The values originate from two key module ratings which is the open circuit voltage (Voc) and the short circuit current (Isc). The manufacturer's instructions for PV modules will give you standard test conditions (STC) that apply to that specific module. Below is a multiplication that needs to be used when sizing cables.


Monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon modules: DC main cables (to and from the whole array) should be rated as a minimum at: Voltage: Voc (STC) x M x 1.15 (M = the number of series connected modules) Current: Isc (STC) x N x 1.25 (N = the number of parallel connected strings) STC=Standard test conditions.

Top: PV-Male cable coupler Bottom: PV-Female cable coupler

MC3 Cable & Connectors

Type 3 MC Branch Plug

MC4 connectors

Essential Information DC Cable Installation- General Guidelines Cable should always be double insulated and polarized. DC Connectors should always be used Cables and connectors will be expected to last for up to 25 years Cable or fuses should never be disconnected when under load. Cable from the solar PV modules should follow the shortest route to the array connection boxes. All DC cable should be clearly identifiable Cables should be laid in parallel and loops should be avoided - except where they enter a building Cables should never be laid in a hazardous space Cables should never be in contact with sharp edges Cables should never be installed near lightning conductors. Cables should always be tested for polarity in accordance with specified regulations. Care must be taken when connecting modules as they will generate if there is light. (correct PPE is essential)

Voltage drop must be calculated to avoid any under sizing of the PV cables which would have a deleterious effect due to overheating and break down of the insulation. There follows a table with typical resistances of different size cables
4mm Conductor cross sectional area (mm2) Resistance in Ohms per metre 6mm 10mm 16mm 25mm 35mm

0.0046 0.0031 0.0018 0.0012

0.00073 0.00049


A 4mm2 cable, 100m long, carrying a current of 20A. The voltage drop = 20A x 0.0046 = 0.092V per metre. For a cable length of 100m the volt drop = 9.2V. A <1% voltage drop is recommended from the inverter to the consumers unit and <3% voltage drop between the array and the inverter.

Due to PV arrays being constructed of metal components and the structure being of metal, there is a possibility of lightning strikes. The Structure therefore needs to be safe guarded against these occurrences and earthing needs to be in place to carry any voltage disturbances that may occur. The two main areas that need to be considered for lightening and earthing protection are:The PV Array The Inverter Reasoning behind earthing the Array is that ordinary persons within the property could touch the array either by climbing on the roof system or through an access window fitted in to the roof system such as a Velux window. The earthing system employed can also act to provide a degree of protection against lightening surges, even though it is generally considered in the UK that the risk is very low

The Inverter would be earthed under normal installation practices through the wiring system employing a C.P.C . As can be seen in the following DTI earthing decision tree the array frame for most installations in the UK can be left floating as long as class II modules, cables, connectors, enclosures and a isolating transformer is used between the DC and AC sides of the inverter. Lightning protection is not required in UK unless a greater than normal risk of a direct strike is present i.e. if it is the highest structure in the area or covers a large area.

Note the Isolators!

Overcurrent Protection - Protection of power supplies, conductors, and connected equipment from excessive flow of input or output current, including the short circuited current.
Overcurrent protection is afforded by Fuses and MCBs (Miniature Circuit Breakers. We also have to consider overcurrent and short circuit current within the PV array to see if string fuses are applicable. For crystalline silicon modules all d.c. components must be rated @ a voltage of (Voc(stc) x 1.15) and a current of (Isc(stc)x1.25). For other module types all DC components must be rated @ Voc(stc) and an Isc(stc) for a temperature range of -15 to 80oC.

Double (basic + supplementary) insulation must be used for voltages greater than 120V DC.

String cables of 3 or fewer stings must be rated at a voltage of Voc(stc)xmx1.15 and current of Isc(stc)x(n-1)x1.25 if no string fuses are used. (m = #of modules per string and n is the # of strings) (The module must be able to withstand a reverse current of 2x1.15xIsc) If string fuses are used or if there is more than 3 strings the cable must be rated at a voltage of Voc(stc) x m x 1.15 and current of Isc(stc)x1.25. This also applies for the DC main cable. DC connectors must be rated DC and properly labelled. In a PV array formed from a number of strings, fault conditions can give rise to fault currents flowing through the DC system. Two key problems need addressing overloaded string cables significant module reverse currents

Refer to hand out Planning permission

Do you have a sunny place to put it? You'll need a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of south, and isn't overshadowed by trees or buildings. If the surface is in shadow for parts of the day, your system will generate less energy. Is your roof strong enough? Solar panels are not light and the roof must be strong enough to take their weight, especially if the panel is placed on top of existing tiles. If in doubt, ask a construction expert or an installer. Do you need planning permission? In England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland, you don't need planning permission for most home solar electricity systems, as long as they're below a certain size - but you should check with your local planning officer, especially if your home is a listed building, or is in a conservation area or World Heritage Site.

Planning Permission The General Permitted Development Order of 2008 grants the right to carry out the installation of most PV systems without obtaining planning permission. Permission must be obtained if: The array protrudes more than 200mm from a roof top. The array is visible from the highway in a Conservation Area or World Heritage site. To be mounted on a listed building The ground mounted array is more than 4m in height or within 5m from a boundary.

The surveyor must as a minimum measure the size of the roof they are proposing to install the solar panels on. This is occasionally done from the ground using a laser distance meter, but it is more common to measure the length of your wall and then the height of your roof space from inside of your loft. Have you looked at the fuse board or consumer unit, a spare breaker is required along with a 30mA RCD. If this is not present a new dedicated consumer unit will require fitting adjacent to the existing board. Have you assessed and explained where the inverter and associated cables will be positioned. Is a Type B RCD required? [Transformer less inverter] HANDOUT REQ.

Incoming electrical services Documentation for the existing electrical installation Visual check of earthing arrangements Confirmation of suitability of protective equipotential bonding (to incoming gas, water and other extraneous conductive parts where necessary). This should be compliant with the latest edition of BS 7671 (IEE wiring regulations) Confirmation of a suitable earth loop impedance for the given earthing system Availability of a spare way in distribution board and that the distribution board can take any additional load OR a means to provide a dedicated distribution board for the AC side of the PV circuit. Suitability of the protective device in accordance with the latest edition of BS 7671 Identification of the district network operator (this will be needed to notify them of the installation of the PV system) Mpan number, this is the 13 digit number that identifies that installation to the district network operator (DNO) as is usually most easily obtained from the installations electricity bill

Generally within the property Location for the Inverter and DC isolator if required, as near to the PV modules as possible, clear area where it can be easily reached and worked on for maintenance and where it will have good airflow around it to avoid issues with overheating (see manufacturer's instructions for guidance) Cable runs to the inverter from the distribution board Location of AC isolators Identification of restrictions that may be placed on the methods of installation, such as times when the power cannot be switched off Identification of other hazards (both to the installer and the installation) that may be present such as asbestos, confined spaces, sharp objects, rodents etc. Internal check of roof construction for structural capability to accept PV array and internal roof assessment to ensure that the work can be carried out within the roof void safely Any additional cabling or positioning of data processing units and digital displays that may be attached to the system

External Survey When considering the external survey we need to look at the availability of roof space or area for mounting (if at ground level) and its suitability for a PV system to be mounted. We also need to consider access issues for the installation to be completed. As with the internal survey we have listed below the key points that we think need to be addressed, again these may need to be added to dependant on any particular site specific issues. Orientation of roof (SE to SW) or orientation of module mounting system when ground of flat roof mounted An assessment of the structures strength and fixing of the modules to the existing roof support system must be taken into account. An older property may have a thin roof support system so adding a heavy PV generator may have a detrimental effect on the whole property. Construction of roof to be able to take additional loads (static & wind) following where available the manufacturer's instructions Ctd

Roof type (type of slates so that the appropriate fixing and flashing kit can be selected) Roof construction so that a suitable number and type of fixings can be chosen for the frame Angle of roof or mounting frame Any shading that may cover all or part of the proposed mounting area, this needs to account for the angle of the sun at all times of the year and times of the day as well as any seasonal variances (trees etc) Access to the area under the roof for the erection of scaffolding Suitable areas for the storage of materials and equipment (if required)

Costs for installing a solar electricity system have come down quite a bit in recent years with an average system (2.7kWp) costing around 12,000 (including VAT at 5%). Solar electricity systems can cost in the region of 4,000 to 5,000 per kWp installed, but costs per kWp should reduce as system size increases. In general: The more electricity the system can generate, the more it costs but the more it could save Solar tiles cost more than conventional panels Panels built into a roof are more expensive than those that sit on top but, if you need major roof repairs, PV tiles can offset the cost of roof tiles Savings can be considerable - around 1.2 tonnes of CO2 a year. A 2.7 kWp system can generate around 50% of a household's yearly electricity needs. If the system is eligible to receive the Feed In Tariff it could generate savings and income of around 1,100 per year. Maintenance is generally small - you'll need to keep the panels relatively clean and make sure trees don't begin to overshadow them.

Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) became available in Great Britain on 1st April 2010. And isnt available in Northern Ireland - although this is under review. Under this scheme energy suppliers have to (compulsory for big six suppliers) make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources such as solar electricity panels(PV) or wind turbines.

If you are eligible to receive the FIT then you will benefit in 3 ways: 1. Generation tariff a set rate paid by the energy supplier for each unit (or kWh) of electricity you generate. This rate will change each year for new entrants to the scheme (except for the first 2 years), but once you join you will continue on the same tariff for 20 years, or 25 years in the case of solar electricity (PV). 2. Export tariff - you will receive a further 3p/kWh from your energy supplier for each unit you export back to the electricity grid, that is when it isnt used on site. The export rate is the same for all technologies. 3. Energy bill savings you will be making savings on your electricity bills , because generating electricity to power your appliances means you dont have to buy as much electricity from your energy supplier. The amount you save will vary depending how much of the electricity you use on site. Deemed export Domestic FIT installations are likely to have their export deemed (estimated) at 50% in most cases until smart meters are rolled out.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have announced they are bringing forward their review of Feed-in-Tariffs which will be completed by the end of 2011 (originally scheduled for 2012). The comprehensive FITs review will: Assess all aspects of the scheme including tariff levels, administration and eligibility of technologies Be completed by the end of the 2011, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency) Fast track consideration of large scale solar projects (over 50kW) with a view to making any resulting changes to tariffs as soon as practical, subject to consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny as required by the Energy Act 2008.

The FITs Order provides for the total cost of the FITs scheme to be shared among electricity suppliers according to their market share (the levelisation process). We expect that the costs are ultimately passed on the electricity consumers. As well as the payments actually made, these costs include qualifying FITs costs (these are the reasonable costs incurred by a supplier as a result of the FIT scheme, excluding FIT payments).

The company installs the solar panels on south, southwest or south-east facing roofs The company pays for the installation, connection charges and the maintenance of the panels The home owner benefits from free electricity from the. Any electricity that is not used is exported into the local electricity network. Any income associated with this is likely to go to the installation company As the owner of the solar panels, the company receives the full Feed-in-Tariffs income (approx. 1,000 per year for a typical 2.7kWp system) These free solar PV offers are also referred to as "rent my roof space" schemes with the solar panel owner simply 'renting' the roof space from the customer.

Your roof has been specifically designed to take the load generated by the roof tiles and chimney if you have one. There are two forces that act on your roof. The gravitational pull with the tiles bearing down on structure and the force of the wind lifting the roof upwards. This means that your roof is supporting the weight and at the same time preventing anything on the roof being blown away. When you introduce a new structure to your roof you need to be sure that it will not compromise the integrity of your roof. Solar panels are typically fixed directly to the roof rafters or the roof battens. Adding solar panels to your roof could potentially increase the load by a quarter.

Typically this increased load will not cause your roof to collapse but if the panels are too heavy for the roof it can cause the roof to sag over time. The other danger is that a strong wind could lift the panels off the roof damaging the roof itself. It is important that a structural engineer certifies that your roof is strong enough for the size of the solar array being fitted. It may be that your roof needs strengthening which can cost up to 500 for the work to be professionally done. This needs to be taken into account when considering buying your own panels or taking up one of the free solar panel offers.

If you are considering installing solar panels on the roof you may be concerned about any damage the panels may do to the structure of the building. There are two forces at work on the roof, gravity pushing down and wind trying to lift the roof or panels. The roof is designed to take a normal expected load such as the weight of the roof tiles and the weight of equipment and people working on the roof and layers of snow. Prior to panel installation a structural survey will be done to see if the roof supports need strengthening. You should not expect any roof damage due to the solar panels baring any natural disasters. It would be wise to check building insurance, you should also advise them if panels are installed.

Refer to hand out.

Roof rail MID clamp. Used to connect panels together on top the rail

What do you think is the main disadvantage of installing a solar panel system ??

High initial installation capital cost

Sales technique needs to talk about off setting the equity release from property and the return on their investment.

When assessing the installation of a PV system, considerations need to be given to the way in which modules and inverters are stored, handled and moved. As the module are made up of many different cells which are joined together under stringent conditions within a factory environment they need to be handled with care to ensure that no damage occurs to the modules before, or during the installation process. As with any technology this means simply following manufacturer's instructions as to how to store, and handle the modules and inverters but in the absence of such instructions the following should be observed:
Modules should be stored horizontally The storage area should be clean and dry The modules and inverter should be stored in such a way as to avoid any possible mechanical damage Sudden variances in temperature and humidity should be avoided especially where the inverters are concerned Modules are made of glass, therefore handling of them should take into account the fragility that glass panels have When exposed to daylight the modules will produce a voltage and current, when handling and connecting the modules care must be taken to minimise the risk of electric shock

When commencing the installation of the system it is important to complete the work in the safest and most effective way possible. One of the largest hazards, apart from potentially working at height, is the installation of the modules during daylight when they will have an electrical output. To minimise this risk the following sequence should be applied to each string: 1. Secure DC isolator (or inverter where the DC isolator is integral) in place 2. Attach DC cables to the isolator or inverter(where integral) 3. Ensure that no other connections are made to the isolator / inverter, in the case of inverters where the isolator is integral do not wire up the AC side until all DC cables have been installed and terminated 4. Run the DC cables to the roof 5. When the first module is installed connect it to one of the cables that have been run from the DC isolator. 6. As successive modules are installed connect the cables between them 7. When the final module is installed connect it to the other cable from the isolator (as well as its adjacent module) 8. The remaining connections to the DC isolator or AC connections to the inverter can then be made

If the above sequence is followed then it will ensure that there will not be any live cables, unterminated, in the building. It will also ensure that connections are not made under load during the assembly of the array.

Roofing is an extremely important factor to consider when installing a PV system as an old building having thin rafters and purlins may not have the desired strength to facilitate a full PV array through weight and the natural forces of wind in which the roof structure will be under. An assessment of the roofing structure, the age of the building and the capacity for the building to take the new system is essential. Remember: PV modules have a general weight of approximately 15kg each with the added weight of the fixing structure; this may be too heavy for some installations. PV arrays have a life span of 20+ years. If the roofing is in need of replacement in the near future it should be done before the array is installed.

There are options such as free standing systems and consoles that can be erected pretty much anywhere where there is sufficient space. We must now consider the roof structure. Generally there are seven elements to a roof structure.

Sarking/felt Felting used beneath the battens for weather and insulation

Battens Timber strips where the tiles and slates are fixed


Strut Near vertical supports for rafters


Tie-Beam Horizontal beam across the roof at the eaves

Tie beam

Wall Plate Horizontal beam along eaves

Ridge board Horizontal beam along ridge

Purlin Horizontal roof beam supporting the rafters


These components can be seen on the next page and the condition of all of these must be assessed to ensure the roof integrity and structure can be maintained during and after the installation, and also that the safety of the installers and the householders can be ensured whilst the work is being carried out. If it can be seen that the roof components are in poor repair then advice and guidance should be sought from a roofing professional via the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC). Where practicable the modules should ideally be no closer than 500mm to the roof edge and if less than 300mm then additional consideration needs to be given to fixing points, wind lift and wind noise as well as rain overshoot beyond the guttering.

Calculate wind pressure using the following formula w = qp x cp Where: w is the wind pressure in Pascals qp is the peak velocity pressure derived in steps a-c cp is the pressure coefficient for the particular installation

Apply correction factors for site altitude (h) in meters:

Note: the altitude correction formula for sites over 100m above sea level calculates a 20% increase for each 100m above the initial 100m. Hence a site at 180m above sea level would have a correction factor of 1.16

Site classification Correction factor Zone 1 None Zone 2 slope up to 10% 1.2 Zone 2 slope up to 20% 1.45 Zone 2 slope up to 30% 1.7

Example calculation #1 Above roof PV array, mounted away from edges in central zone of roof (Cp uplift = -1.3) Site located in central London (more than 2km from edge of town)
Site more than 20km from the sea Building height = 10m Site altitude = 20m Topography = not significant

a) Site in in zone 1 (22 m/s) Table gives value for qp = 763Pa b) Altitude correction factor = none c) Topography correction factor = d) W uplift = 763 x -1.3 = -992Pa (value excludes safety factor)

Example calculation #2 Above roof PV array, mounted away from edges in central zone of roof (Cp uplift = -1.3) Site located in rural Yorkshire near the top of a hill of 8% slope Site more than 20km from the sea Building height = 10m Site altitude = 150m Site in in zone 2 (24 m/s) Table gives value for qp = 1038Pa Altitude correction factor = 1 + (150-100/100)*0.2 = 1.1 Topography correction factor = 1.2 W uplift = 1038 x 1.1 x 1.2 x -1.3 = -1781Pa (value

excludes safety factor)

Roof rail end clamps. Used to firmly hold panels in place at each end

Mounting rail

Roof rail spacer

Roof rail mounting kit

Roof tile removed for roof hook

Pilot hole drilling ready for tile hook

Tile hooks MUST be bolted down with supplied fixings

Notching out the tile to accept the cable entry

Roof tile grinded away to accept small PVC conduit to protect the cable

Note tile grinded away

String 1, 2 & 3.

Strings are lengths of arrays wired in series and parallel.

An array is simply the WHOLE collection of panels.

Integrated PV Array An Integrated PV array is one which is built into the fabric of the roof system or single tiles which can be installed similar to a traditional roof tiles. It is important with an integrated system that an air gap is provided due to the heating effect caused by the PV array. Integrated systems also have to form a waterproof seal to prevent leakage in to the array or the building

A non integrated system relies on external mountings to set the PV array on. This mounting system is usually made up of horizontal rails fixed to the roof structure or the rafters beneath the tiles. Mounting the rails horizontally so they cross many rafters means that the fixing will distribute the weight and give more fixing and strengthening options especially in windy areas where the wind can create lifting beneath the array so strength is important. The rails will normally be fixed via a roof hook.

When installing the DC cable systems it is important to ensure that the cables are well secured to avoid them being able to move during their lifetime. Problems surrounding cable movement can lead to excessive noise in the building due to the cables knocking on the roof structure (tiles / train slates) and the obvious strain that this can put onto connections and the cable itself. One of the easiest ways to achieve the security of the cables is to use cable ties to tie the cables to the array frame, if this method is chosen then this MUST be undertaken during the installation of each individual module as to undertake this after the module installation would be a near impossible task. Where the cabling systems enter the building it must be ensured that the penetrations are watertight and do not adversely affect the structure of the building. When using roof mounted systems the most common way of entering the building is through the tile or slate that the system is installed on, where this is the case there are a number of proprietary slate adaptors and entry systems to suit most types of roof structure. Alternatively you could choose to form your own slate adaptor using one or more sections of lead, however the proprietary slate adaptors are more reliable and should be used in preference where available. Where the cable entry point is through a wall then in addition to the water tightness of the building we also need to consider the structural integrity of the wall and that, after the hole has been drilled, it won't compress, cut or damage the cabling in any way; for this reason the same methods of protecting the cabling system that apply to AC cables should be applied to DC cables, dependant on the wall construction.

PV tracking systems also work best when you have a high proportion of direct irradiation which allows for accurate tracking and the best possibility to gain from the tracking system, where diffuse irradiation is most dominant it may well not be so viable to utilise a tracker. For the size of systems that we cover within this manual it is unlikely to be financially beneficial to install a tracking system due to the cost and complexity that can be involved, it may well be the case that where the customer is considering a tracking system there is a case to spend the additional money on more static modules so long as there is the available space to do so.

The best angle to fit solar panels is South East facing & at 30 inclination How do we measure inclination?
We use a measuring tool attached to rafter to obtain angle.

Many different types are available

Painted end is ALWAYS north.

Smartphone apps dont replace a compass!

With all electrical installations there is a requirement by the regulations to inspect and test all new components that make up the installation to verify that all equipment has been installed and selected in accordance with BS7671 and the appropriate standards. The inspection and testing process is to confirm before energising that there are no undue faults on the system and the integrity of the electrical installation is not compromised. Inspection and testing must be carried out on both the AC and DC side can be summarised into the following key points for the DC side, for more detailed information please refer to BS7671 and the DTI guide to installing PV:

Inspection PV array Inverter DC cables AC cables Earthing arrangements Labelling

Testing array Temperature Calculation of Voc Adjusting figure(s) for temperature Measure Voc and compare results Measure irradiance Calculate Isc Measure Isc and compare results

The inspection process precedes the testing and can be broken down as follows. A visual inspection of the system and components is required and the following items should be inspected:AC wiring and connections AC isolators and junction boxes Full labelling of the AC and DC supplies Earthing and lightening protection Inverter/s DC wiring and connections including PV cabling DC isolators and junction boxes PV modules Overcurrent protective devices Array mounting system (secure and properly weather sealed) Confirm that the modules comply with the international standards IEC 61215 (crystalline modules) or IEC 61646 (thin film modules) Confirm that the inverter has a type test certificate to the requirements of ER G83/1

There are a number of tests that need to be taken before the installation can be safely put into service and these can be broken down into groups of tests. Module testing Array Testing Inverter testing, AC and DC AC testing DC testing

The testing of a PV system should begin during the Installation phase. As each module is installed it should be tested as this saves time in troubleshooting and the need to dismantle the array to find a faulty module. Below is a sequence for module testing:1. Place the module in constant sunlight and then measure the open circuit voltage on the output of the module 2. Remove the module from the sunlight (preferably by covering it). Then short the output of the module and then once again place it in sunlight. Use a clamp on dc amp meter to then measure the short circuit current. (Not all clamp on meters will measure DC amps) 3. At the same time the irradiance and temperature should be measured 4. The Isc is then multiplied to (irradiance @ standard test conditions / irradiance measured). The Voc is then corrected for the temperature change (-0.5% change for each degree of increase from 25oC). These numbers can then be compared to the electrical ratings on the module nameplate to find if the module is operating to its design parameters or is faulty or out of spec.

The open circuit voltage and short circuit current of the array need to be measured prior to connection to the AC supply. Below is a sequence for array testing. 1. Isolate all of the strings by ensuring that all of the string DC isolators and the main DC array isolators are set to the OFF position. 2. For each string in turn do the following: a. Connect a voltmeter across the positive and negative input terminals of the DC isolator and record the voltage displayed. Then correct this value for temperature changes from the standard test conditions. This is the open circuit Voltage (Voc).

b. Verify that the open circuit voltage value is around n times Voc for a module, from manufacturer's data, where n is the number of modules connected in series in the string.
c. With the DC isolator set in the OFF position, connect a shorting link across the positive and negative output of the DC isolator, i.e. not on the PV side of the DC isolator. d. Clamp a current adapter (for non-intrusive current measurement, i.e. an amp clamp) around the shorting link. e. Switch the DC isolator to the ON position and record the current displayed. This is the short circuit current (Isc).

A simultaneous reading of the in-plane irradiance, GI, should be taken.

Divide the measured value of Isc by the measured value of the in-plane irradiance and multiply the result by 1000 to normalise the measured value of Isc to STC radiation (1000 W/m2). Verify that the normalised short circuit current value agrees with manufacturer's data for the module. Switch the DC isolator to the OFF position before removing the amp clamp and the shorting link. Record the current, voltage and radiation values in a table.

D.C. commissioning testing 1. Continuity of conductors - most likely to have been verified when conducting the Voc or Isc tests 2. Insulation resistance a. First disconnect any devices that are voltage sensitive or that could cause inaccurate test results.

b. There are two ways to measure the insulation resistance. The first being to measure the resistance of the Negative cable to earth and then the Positive cable to earth. The second is used if there is a possibility of damaging the modules. To do this the negative and positive cables are shorted together and then insulation resistance to Earth is measured. The following table shows the minimum resistance for various system voltages. The test voltage must not exceed the module or cable rating. Test method System Voltage (Voc stc X 1.25) Test Voltage Minimum impedance Array Positive and Negative Shorted Together

3. Polarity Verified by the Voc test and observing the polarity displayed on the test instrument
4. Functionality of switchgear Verified by use of DC isolator

The inverter tests are to be completed after the array DC and the AC supply have been connected. Some inverters will have digital read out monitors built into their units which will show AC voltage, DC array voltage, AC and DC current, and frequency. Below is the sequence for energisation of the inverter. Turn on DC isolator (PV array output) Turn on the AC isolator (grid connection) Check inverter operations (LEDs, status indicators) Under G83/1 the inverter should be in standby mode for the first 3 minutes. The inverter should have a DC voltage input of approximately 80% of the measured PV open circuit voltage indicating the inverter is tracking the maximum power point (MPP)

AC Testing The testing of the AC side of the system must conform to BS 7671 so each of the following must be satisfied as a minimum; the specifics of each test are not covered by this course. 1. Continuity of protective conductors 2. Insulation resistance 3. Polarity (live and dead) 4. Earth fault loop impedance (TN systems) or earth electrode resistance (TT system) 5. Prospective fault current. 6. Functionality of RCDs and switchgear.

Module voltage and current (individual module output). Depending on the type, composite and size of the PV module being used, this will determine the output voltage and current. A typical 36 cell module measuring 1mtr x 0.5mtr will have a Voc (voltage open circuit) of 21.4volts (approx.) and an Isc (short circuit current) of 4.45Amps (approx.) Date and time. We will be required to input the time and date of the tests as every day can have different characteristics so comparing the tests results can give us an indication of the overall efficiency of the generator over a long period of time. Temperature. The temperature of the modules at time of test is required as there will be a difference between temperature of the module on a specific day and the STC (standard test conditions) temperature we use for the calculations. STC temperature is set at 25C. Solar irradiance levels. STC irradiance levels are set at 1000W/m2 (1000 watts per metre square) in the UK. It is very unlikely that these levels will be achieved or constant in the UK. We measure the irradiance levels by the use of an IRRADIANCE METER


We have installed 12 BP 75 Wp crystalline modules (Voc = 21.4v and an Isc = 4.45amps) on to a roof as one string, the time of day is 10.25am and the date 05/07/08. The weather conditions are overcast and we have an irradiance level of 350W/m2. The module temperature is 35C. Voc Measurement 1. Voc = 12 (amount of modules) x 21.4 (voltage per module) = 256.8v 2. Temperature correction facto r= (35C(measured)-25C(stc)) x0.5%=5% change or 0.05x256.8v=12.84v 3. Voc = 256.8v (calculated from step 1) 12.84v (calculated from step 2) = 244volts 4. Measure the Voc actual of the array using a multimeter. Example measured Voc = 239v 5. Expected Voc = 244v. Actual measured Voc = 239v. A difference of 5v or 2% Isc Measurement 1. Isc at STC for an individual module is 4.45 Amps 2. Isc = 4.45 x 350W/m2 (irradiance level) / 1000 W/m2 (stc) = 1.55A 3. Measure the actual Isc of the array = 1.67A (example) 4. Therefore Isc measured 1.67A Isc calculated 1.55A making a difference of 0.12A or 7% The differences in actual measurements and calculated measurements could be due to weather conditions, temperature, light levels, shading etc. The difference in the levels of the above calculation is considered reasonable. A large difference could be caused by many possible problems such as shading, module malfunction or damage to the cables and components.

Maintenance & fault finding with PV systems is a relatively straight forward process that can often pivot around any message that may appear in the inverter, however before we detail these we must first consider the risks involved whilst working on these systems. Often the module will be generating an amount of power whilst we are working on them as it is very difficult and it can often be more dangerous to attempt to isolate the modules before working on them. The risks that we may encounter are as follows: DC voltages present Working at heights AC voltage present Generation when not expected (if for example the modules were not showing a voltage then the sun came out whilst you are working on them) Confined spaces (roof spaces) Asbestos High ambient temperatures (roof spaces) Working platforms (either external scaffold or within the roof space) It is vital that you assess any of the above that may apply, or indeed any others that may apply that are specific to the site that you are working on, prior to undertaking any work on the system.

Maintenance & fault finding with PV systems is a relatively straight forward process that can often pivot around any message that may appear in the inverter, however before we detail these we must first consider the risks involved whilst working on these systems. Often the module will be generating an amount of power whilst we are working on them as it is very difficult and it can often be more dangerous to attempt to isolate the modules before working on them. The risks that we may encounter are as follows: DC voltages present Working at heights AC voltage present Generation when not expected (if for example the modules were not showing a voltage then the sun came out whilst you are working on them) Confined spaces (roof spaces) Asbestos High ambient temperatures (roof spaces) Working platforms (either external scaffold or within the roof space) It is vital that you assess any of the above that may apply, or indeed any others that may apply that are specific to the site that you are working on, prior to undertaking any work on the system.

When undertaking maintenance it is important to ensure that the system is performing, and has the output, that was originally specified (dependant on annual irradiance levels). To enable this, personnel that undertake maintenance must have access to the PV array test report and the declaration of expected annual output from the original quotation or documentation. A basic maintenance check list can be drawn up and used to check the system and should include as a minimum the following: Check to see if the customer is aware of any issues Electrical installation periodic inspection report on the AC side as per BS 7671 Verification that the array fixings are still in a suitable condition Verification that any roof penetrations are still watertight Verification of the condition of the DC supply cables Check the inverter data log (where possible) to verify actual output against what might be expected Module inspection. An inspection should be made for physical damage, the entrance of water into the module, delamination or any form of degradation of cell connections. Array mounting. The mounting system should be inspected for corrosion or weakness. The weather sealing of the roof penetrations must also be checked.

Cleaning of the array. The array depending on the location and inclination may suffer from dust, dirt, salt water if near the coast etc. so cleaning the modules on a regular basis depending on the amount of soiling will be required. Soiling can cause a decrease of 10-15% in the output. The obvious danger is working at heights. Refer to working at heights documents. Care should be taken when cleaning the module so as not to remove the anti-reflection coating as this will affect the output of the modules Check that shading is still not affecting the array, for example: New buildings causing shading Dirt or debris covering the modules Growth of trees or hedges locally that may affect the arrays collection Monitoring. Monitoring can be as simple as noting down the output of the PV system once a month and comparing it against the expected output. A significant difference must be investigated as a possible problem. Some monitoring systems are run in real time by a computer which in some systems can even monitor individual modules. This allows the operator to locate faulty or problematic modules before significant power generation is lost. The cost and the complexity of such systems must be balanced against possible losses. Many market incentives require some form of monitoring to be part of their program. Completion of the relevant paperwork for the maintenance procedure