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PV System Limits

Discussion in 'Solar PV Forum' started by mantissa, Feb 16, 2011.

Discuss PV System Limits in the Solar PV Forum area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Hi,

    I am not an electrician, but am about to take the plunge on installing a PV system (or rather having one installed, I should say. By the way, any installers on the Hampshire/West Sussex borders are welcome to get in touch!)

    My investigations have yielded some interesting (almost) conflicting information. I am keen to get the most out of the FIT in order to get past the payback point as soon as possible. For this reason, I would like to fit the maximum 4kWp of panels. However, there seems to be problem with fitting an inverter which chucks out >16A. I have an email from SSE (Scottish and Southern), my DNO and they said that until then end of March, they'll be waving through 4kW inverter output installs on G.83/1, but after that G.59/1 will apply.

    I was wondering just how onerous a G.59 installation is for something that is greater than 3.68kW but less than 4kW. Does anyone have any experience of such a system. Of course, I'm talking domestic here...I have read in these forums the requirements for 99kWh, but I can't see that 3.88kW (4kW and a 97% efficient inverter) will cause eyebrows to be raised!

    The alternative I'm considering is using a 4kWp array feeding an inverter which *can* be fitted under G.83, but from my looking at what's around, I don't see a 3.68kW inverter, so are they programmable to limit output current if required - as would be in this case?

    Finally, my roof space is a little tight to get the 4kWp panels on anyway (so all the above may be moot!) as I only have 26.52m^2 (10.2m X 2.6m). How close to the roof edge is considered appropriate - are there any regs that apply here or is it just a rule of thumb? With Sanyo 235s I can keep it to 9.48m X 2.3m which is still tight, but I wondered if it was too tight?

    Thanks in advance.

    John
     
  2. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    you wont get 4 kWp on your roof, the slope height isn't enough to get 2 rows which you would need, also you dont have a long enough roof to install enough in 1 row of any module i can think of. You would more likely be able to get around 2.0kWp in portrait on your roof. I would be very wary of any company who says you could get 4kWp of modules on your roof. Please remember you need a 300mm border around array leaving you 9.6m x 2m of usable sapce

    in regards to g59, It would not be economical to go g59, the cost to connect to the grid would far outweigh the benefits of having an 4000kW inverter, if you could could get 4kWp on your roof i would suggest a 3.6kW inverter as we generally undersize the inverters in this country.

    edit: i just had a think you could get maybe a little more if you went landscape but i still dont think 4kWp would be possible on you roof dimensions. But if you go landscape it will cost extra as a sub frame would be required unless your rafters are exactly the same spacing center to center all the way along. The reason for the sub frame is because for the majority of modules we are not allowed to clamp on the short side of the modules so we need to orientate the mounting system vertically to all allow us to clamp on the long side
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  3. JBF
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    JBF Guest

    As the previous reply covers there are two problems here the first over the output. You can put 4kwp on your roof (if it fits) under g83/1 because it is the output of the inverter that is important not the panels (although they need to be matched) So as long as it is a g83/1 compliant inverter you are fine. Going towards g59 is not cost effective unless going much bigger due to greater costs and lower FIT's.

    Second problem though is size of roof can't see you getting close to 4KWP with an on roof system may get a bit closer with an in roof system but again costs are going to go up so not ideal.

    Hope that helps.

    I am in south hampshire if you need any more info.

    John
     
  4. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Actually, I made a mistake with my dimensions: 10.2 is absolute roof length, 3.2 is roof depth and I had already 'derated' that to 2.6 to take into account the fact that I can't use the whole roof depth....So it's really 10.2 X 3.2!

    Sounds like I have totally overcooked roof usage - although I have seen images of a roof with panels almost to the edge - not a pukka installation then perhaps?
     
  5. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    you still pushing it, you narrowly only be able to fit 2 rows of 9 Sharp 185 which is 3.33, you could put this on a SB3000 i believe or if not a SB3000hf, but still 4kWp is pushing it to say the least
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  6. Markc
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    Markc Solar Guru

    Location:
    Norfolk
    you could consider waiting till the Sanyo 250wt panel has its MCS certificate in March 2011 (Hopefully). I believe you might get 4Kw with the space allowing. Output to grid will still need to be 3.68kW. I would consider this the maximum you are going to achieve.
     
  7. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    That module will be a minimum of 1.4m high tho surely? and even tho its a slimmer module you would still only manage 10 maybe 11 in a row and no longer be able to have 2 rows due to its height. or am i missing something?
     
  8. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    I think this is where my naivety is showing through :). I spent some time today looking at various panels and had 'decided' that with a row of 11 panels in portrait, followed by a second row of 6 in landscape, I could fit in 17 Sanyo 235 panels (1.58 X .798 m) in a total area of 9.48m X 2.378m. Of course, I have made absolutely no allowance for any panel gap due in part, I imagine. to mounting hardware and had assumed that it was possible to mix and match portrait and landscape panels in an installation. I'm good at the numbers and the electrics, but not the mechanics! Also, with an odd number of panels, it's right that I would need an inverter with two MPPT regulators to deal with different string sizes, isn't it?
     
  9. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Is it possible to program an inverter for a maximum output, since I have yet to see an inverter with its output pegged at 3.68kW...?
     
  10. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Where does that figure of 300mm come from? Is it just a common sense figure to allow access to the array once installed without walking on the panels or is it a regulatory requirement?
     
  11. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    As MarkC said you could possibly get 4kW on your roof. If you wait until the 250w panel gets its MCS Cert you could get 10/11 panels in portrait and a further 6 in Landscape above the portrait panels. This is all subject to a survey!


    Hope this helps

    Sorry you beat me to it! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  12. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    It's not 300mm as stated it is actually 200mm! Its so that wind loading etc can be taken into account.

    Mark
     
  13. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    that 300mm figure is generally accepted, its to do with disturbing the ridge eve and edge tiles, i.e the ridge and edge tiles are concreted in, and the eve tiles are doubled up! isnt incredibly difficult and dodgy to move these tiles, they form an integral part of the weatherproofing and you dont want to disturb them.

    In regards to your portrait landscape system, it would look very out of place, IMO crap and be a pain in the neck for an installer, if i were you i would keep it all portrait or all landscape, Portrait will be over all cheaper. If you do go with portrait landcsape remember you will have to live with how it looks....
     
  14. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    where did u hear 200mm?

    Personally i would keep it 300mm both my reasons and you reasons
     
  15. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    It was said on my course with ecoskies.

    Each to their own but I will stick to 200mm.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  16. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    200mm seems to be pushing it to me, generally the 2 rows of tiles directly under the ridge are nigh on impossible to remove, as well as the sides without disturbing the concrete! and you dont want to have to re mortar the tiles back in.
     
  17. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Thanks for your prompt comments, much appreciated. I take your point about mixing portrait and landscape panel mounting, but looks are not that important to me (they are to my wife though!) - what bothers me is that if I'm shelling out such a massive sum to have an array installed I want to be damn sure that I am maximising the benefit of doing so! Due south is to the side of my house, so there isn't really the opportunity to see them at a distance to appreciate the true ugliness of a mixed orientation of panels...

    On the gap to the edge side of things, my roof is slate - which I understand is not a favourite of PV installers! But that does mean that nothing's cemented in, other than the ridge tiles. I am happy to accept the wind loading argument, but I'd like to know whether it's 2 or 300mm...
     
  18. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    yes or a high frequecny one that will allow larger strings
     
  19. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    ahhh but if you've installed as many systems as I have then you will find that you don't have to take the tiles by the ridge out to get a bracket in there....:p

    If you get your bracket to sit about 100mm or so under the panel on the sides you wont disturb the tiles on the edge either.

    ;)
     
  20. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    how many systems you installed? just out of curiosity... :)
     
  21. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts

    Some installers say 200mm and some say 300mm, I suppose it depends on who they studies with. I was personally told that 200mm from top to allow for wind loading and 200 mm from bottom because if it rains you want the water to drip into your gutter, not over the side of your roof.

    We may all have different views.

    Mark
     
  22. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    First install done in October 2009, pushing on 60+ installs at the moment. You?
     
  23. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    i did 31 or so at my old company, but mainly electrical side of things but was involved on the roof. Then said company went to do consultancy so made me redundant as well as the other fitter. For the last 3 months i have been working for a supply company designing and specking systems for installers. Now i have just got a new job as an electrical engineer focusing on the electrical install so im going back to installing which is what i love

    Lots of installs for you though! :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  24. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    I have found that slate tiles are one of the easiest to work! There's a good method to it!

    Mark
     
  25. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    Good man!

    I've got my first farm install starting in April 23.6kW, gonna be interesting. Got a couple of others in the pipeline that could possibly come in including a 100kW install.
     
  26. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    Well there's no problem with the top and bottom edge clearance, but what's your view on clearance to the edges then? With the Sanyo 11P+6L arrangement, it should be possible to have approx 700mm (350 per side), so long as panels can be butted up against each other with no gap. Otherwise there's not much slack in that 700mm figure to provide a gap between the 6L panels and still have 600mm left over. Might work I guess, 6 panels, 5 gaps, 20mm per gap?
     
  27. Mark.W
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    Mark.W Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Swindon, Wilts
    With the dimensions you stated ie 1580mm x 789mm, your portrait panels would come to a total of 8.93m including all clips based on 11 panels and 9.74m based on 12 panels. The 6 panels in Landscape would come to a total of 9.62m including all gaps.

    The Panels is Landscape do not need to have any gaps in between them, as the bars will be mounted vertically. I would personally still keep the gaps the same as the portrait panels.

    You will have plenty of gap around all edges of your panels with this configuration.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  28. dansk
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    dansk Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bingley
    200mm - for permitted development
     
  29. mmccx
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    mmccx Regular EF Member

    thats above the roof,

    we are talking about borders which is debatable
     
  30. dansk
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    dansk Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bingley
  31. mantissa
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    mantissa Guest

    That's good stuff - although the 200mm from the ridge requirement is often confused as covering the distance to the roof edge - which it doesn't. I like the 3 times the height off the plane of the roof suggestion which is in that thread - there seems to be real reason for it (wind loading). Also linked from that thread is the amazing story from Dorset which seems to make a nonsense of wanting to do it right. I went to my local planning office today for an informal consultation and all they were able to stipulate was the less than 200mm off the plane of the roof and down from the ridge.
     
  32. dansk
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    dansk Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bingley
    Quality is that link, i cant believe my eyes when i see that photo - we should have a sticky on here named "Bodgerwatch" like we have in the NAPIT magazine, of all the dodgy installation work.
     
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