Saturday, December 8, 2007

Day 10 of Solar Install (Inspection)

The Energy Trust of Oregon came out to inspect my PV system. This was much more thorough than the county inspection. In fact, it was a 3 member team inspection. The inspector that covers this area, Gary, is moving to a new job working on massive tens of megawatts tracking PV systems. He said that there are currently none of this type in the US, he would be helping bring the technology here. Since he is leaving his inspector post, he was training another inspector and his manager.

Here is one particular test, I found very smart. This time of year, the system is not going to put out its full capacity, so how could you know if all the panels were hooked up and working? On this cloudy day the inverter was generating about 250Watts, 1/16th of its full capacity. Gary pulled out a photometer, held it at approximately the same angle as the panels got a reading. A couple of chart references and calculations later he had determined that all the panels were functional.

Here is what the inspection discovered. One of the ground wires was a little loose. The AC and DC disconnects need locks for safety. The wall penetrations on both the north and south walls need caulking. The big item was that the system may not be fused as required. The plans showed that a 6000US model inverter was going to be used. However, because of the string sizes, a 6000U model was used. The US model has fuses built in to it, whereas the U model requires fuses in the combiner box. None of the inspection team actually went up on the roof to look at the combiner box. Instead they used binoculars and looked at things from the ground. It is possible that my combiner box has the needed fuses, but it was shown as not having fuses in the plans.

We will see how the contractor responds to the inspection report.

Days Since Power-on: 15
Power Generated to Date: 50kW

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.