At Futurum we are often called on to investigate issues with systems installed by other companies, in this case a Solar PV system in Cornwall which had been installed on an old building not strong enough to take the weight and wind load of a solar PV system. These calls come to us via various sources including the public, insurance companies and industry bodies. Once instructed we firstly carry out a full site and system survey and hand this to the client and/or insurance company. this report details issues with the system as well as alternative solutions and predicted costs.
For this case we were called to investigate issues with a 4 kW PV array (16 panels) that had been put on a large wooden stable block as an ‘East/West’ system with 8 panels on either side of the structure. On inspection we found issues that included:
- Panels installed on an asbestos roof
- Insufficient roof anchor support – miss-installed PV rail support bolts
- Signs of Bowing
- Unrestrained DC cabling
- Cables and connectors chaffing
- No attempt made to strengthen the roof despite the position of the systems which was exposed to the wind and high on a hill
- Unsatisfactory cabling (4mm when 10mm was require to be safe)
- Exposed consumer unit
- Inadequate earth spike
It was concluded by our engineer that the original installer should also have informed the householder of the danger involved in working on the asbestos roof and issues raised if and when repairs were needed.
Taking all this into account our engineer advised that the best option recommended was to shift the install to a ground mounted system. This negated the requirement to strengthen the roof and minimised any asbestos risks (and associated cost).
The client agreed and we were commissioned to carry out the work.
A team of three spent over a week removing the system, checking all parts and installing the 4 kW array on a Schletter PV Max ground mount system. To ensure that it wasn’t susceptible to the high winds that are common on this location the system was fixed in place with around 10 tonnes of concrete!
The system is now running and installed as it should be and busy generating the electric it was always meant to do. As a reward to the client on the day of completion the sun came out too!
If you have a problem with your solar PV system do get in touch with us on 0800 080 60 40 or firstname.lastname@example.org