It generally takes two to three days to install a solar PV system but this can depend upon the specific size of the installation, electrical cable runs and the use of scaffolding for access. When battery storage systems are installed alongside a solar PV system, the installation can become more complex and take slight longer. There is also the delay required to complete the paperwork for acceptance and connection to the Grid supply.
Connecting to the grid is easier than it might seem, although should always be done by a qualified and experienced engineer. The energy industry has developed a set of standards for connecting solar PV systems, which makes the process fairly straight-forward. They key is to involve the utility company as early on in the process as possible and ensure that all equipment, systems and personnel involved comply with recognised standards and regulations. The most complicated aspect of this part of the installation is metering; specifically how it will be done and the equipment that is required. A reputable solar installation company will be able to supply the best solution for your application. The basic steps to follow at installation are:
- Augment the roof structure as necessary.
- Examine all equipment to ensure none has been damaged during shipping and delivery and prepare for installation.
- Review installation instructions for each component and familiarise yourself with the installation process.
- Estimate wire sizes and run lengths for wiring for each component and make sure they are correct (according to manufacturer’s recommendations) in each case.
- Properly seal roof penetrations using roofing-industry-approved sealing methods.
- Solar PV equipment should be installed in accordance with the manufacturers instructions, using the correct procedures as outlined.
- Check the main electricity service panel (circuit box) and determine if it is adequately sized to receive the PV breaker or whether it needs to be upgraded.
- It is extremely important that all system parts are properly grounded to reduce the threat of shock hazards and surges.
- The system should be properly tested once installed to ensure proper and correct working and operation.
- Ensure the design and installation meets with local utility connection requirements.
Following installation, the installer should verify that the system has been installed according to the manufacturer’s procedure. It should be tested to ensure it is performing as optimally as it should be, all documentation including check lists, warranties, system plans, wiring diagrams, drawings and so forth should be completed, copied and one copy handed to the owner who should then be given fully operator training in how to use the renewable power system correctly.