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My PV array(s) is(are) finally commissioned, they have been on the roof since November last year!

 

Two reasons for the delay:

  1. Mains power required in the house (Available Feb), also final second fit electrical, no extensions!
  2. Internet required!!!

 

The installers tried setting it up at the end of March but failed!  They returned last week when I was there and basically I did the commissioning work!!!  (Following the instructions).

 

I have 37 x 280W Monocrystalline panels JAM6(K)-60-280-4BB (Chinese from the supplier) each coupled to an enphase micro-inverter.  These are wired via 3-phase cable (house is 3-phase) into their own breaker board, then onto the main board via an import meter.  Teh array is split up 10 panels SE and 27 SW, each array has it's own breaker and there is a noise suppressor in the box also.  An enphase envoy is wired in next to the breaker box and communicates with micro-inverters via powerline and the world by my Wi-Fi (on an isolated subnet).

 

The problem was that the envoy (brains) could not communicate with the micro-inverters so the system was not coming online.  The installers commissioning the system were stumped so after about an hour I went up into the attic to help, First of all connecting the system to my Wi-Fi (not the temporary BT Hub from build), then I downloaded the installer app (iPhone), they logged me on, and following the instruction on my laptop set up the array details (all micro-inverters were serial numbered) and set it to work.  Remarkably all micro-inverters were detected but only 2/3 communicating (powerline problems), by this time it was past support hours so they planned to come back the next day.

 

In the meantime my electrician came in to do some odd jobs, I explained the issue to him and he suggested that they take a power feed directly off their breaker board (behind their noise suppressor) for the envoy rather than use the socket that is on the attic ring.

 

When the installers returned the next day, I passed on the advice which they confirmed with the enphase support people and fitted the dedicated socket, unsurprisingly all bar one reported in and that one has since done so.  My array is now up and running:

 

It can be viewed here:

https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/pv/public_systems/yYpm1387793/overview?preview=1

 I have managed over 8kW in the current garbage weather and over 40kWh on one day!

 

As an aside I had to have an interim EPC produced before the array was commissioned to enable full FIT rate claim, the EPC will be subsequently re-assessed (with Solar) to give a final realistic figure.  It is a quirk of the system (designed for retrofit not new-build) that if you commission a system without a lodged EPC, you get a FIT rate of about 10% of the current puny rate, but you cannot include Solar in your EPC until it is commissioned, so you end up doing it twice!!

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I am sure I will get bored with this but at the moment is is fun to see what  I am generating, last week 269.5 kWh

 

Picture1.thumb.jpg.456154ea640954e737b4da16912b8c4c.jpg

That is recorded by online, actually it is probably more as on Saturday there is an evident dropout of some of the panels reporting, on an otherwise clear day!

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2 minutes ago, le-cerveau said:

That is recorded by online

 

Nice graphs. Looks like Tetris! I assume the top part is a schematic of the 2x arrays. Do you have yours on an SE – SW orientation, with more SW?

What online service is that?

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3 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

Do you have yours on an SE – SW orientation, with more SW?

 

From the link in your first post. 2 Arrays…

  1. Tilt: 25.0°, Azimuth: 240°. The bigger one.
  2. Tilt: 25.0°, Azimuth: 150°. The smaller one.

Should have read your first post more closely, haha!

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27 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

Do you have yours on an SE – SW orientation, with more SW?

The arrays are the maximum that could be fitted on the roof, it is a space limitation.

I was considering putting some on the NE roof, but this is a highly sub-optimal direction, it would give me more morning power (in teh summer) and with the low roof pitch 25o would get some sun however the numbers don't stack up; with Nov - Jan next to useless, Feb, Mar, Sep and Oct some power and Apr - Aug good but the rest of the array is also good then, so I have what I have.

It still is quite a significant amount as shown by last weeks production and it is smoothed out by the split orientation.  In theory it is over 10kW, but appears to top out at around 8kW but I get earlier and later power that a South facing array would.

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47 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

What online service is that?

 

45 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

 

Yes it is as they are enphase micro-inverters the service is provided, you can see all the enphase systems around the world, unless a user has specifically not published the data, I have the limited data available, link in original post.

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Snap!

 

We have 8.5 kW on a flat roof in two sections. The first two rows are on the larger roof, which is actually to the north by about 5 deg. The top row is tilted to the south. The second row alternates east-west.

 

The last two rows are on the smaller roof that's angled slightly to the south. Both of those rows face south.

 

Due to the parapet wall and position of the panels, you can't see them from the ground. 

 

5add97362f1e2_Solar2.thumb.GIF.36a4bbe47cbc0caef75e5ba21d306f40.GIF

 

 

 

5add97348ff46_Solar1.thumb.GIF.7d1975cb8bb62fe4c7f74922ae71f75d.GIF

 

 

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@jack, are you 3-phase (G-83) or single and G59 rules? (purely out of interest) 

Because I am 3-phase we stayed below the G-83 limits.  Also allowed a 3-phase ASHP (soft start), 3-phase lift and 3-phase, 22kW car charge connection (future expansion).

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Single phase, G59. 

 

I wanted as much PV as possible. I was really surprised when the installers we went with (highly recommended, incidentally: http://www.techforenergy.co.uk) suggested applying for 8.5kW. I genuinely thought there was no hope of being allowed more than twice the G83 amount, but it went straight through. 

 

I believe that if they won't let you have what you ask for, they'll tell you the maximum you're allowed, and that will generally be more than the G83 limit.

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@le-cerveau  I want to do exactly the same thing to get the "better" FiT rate and not miss out on the summer of generation.

 

Did you have problem getting the interim EPC - my current Assessor doesn't want to do one, but If as ask a new assessor they say they have to do the whole thing from scratch again costing hundreds, what all I want them to do is lodge the interim. which should only cost a few quid.

 

 

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1 hour ago, swisscheese said:

@le-cerveau  I want to do exactly the same thing to get the "better" FiT rate and not miss out on the summer of generation.

 

Did you have problem getting the interim EPC - my current Assessor doesn't want to do one, but If as ask a new assessor they say they have to do the whole thing from scratch again costing hundreds, what all I want them to do is lodge the interim. which should only cost a few quid.

 

 

 

I gave our installers the design EPC I used for the full plans building regs application and the FIT was registered with that, a long time before we had the as-built EPC.  Didn't seem to cause a problem at all and meant we managed to just beat a significant drop in the FIT rate.  We were getting FIT and export payments for around 18 months before we had a completion certificate.

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2 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

 

I gave our installers the design EPC I used for the full plans building regs application and the FIT was registered with that, a long time before we had the as-built EPC.  Didn't seem to cause a problem at all and meant we managed to just beat a significant drop in the FIT rate.  We were getting FIT and export payments for around 18 months before we had a completion certificate.

 

The electricity co. won't/don't accept the "As Design" EPC.  Got to be at least the "interim" version - but to get the "elevated" FiT it needs to be before certification of the PV, so the PV is not included in the EPC figure as @le-cerveau has pointed out. - it's all "Ar$e about Face"

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All I can say is that SSE accepted our design EPC without question.  They were even pretty helpful in getting our application registered as being "in the system" in order to fix the application date as far as the FIT was concerned.  I remember having to do a bit of chasing around to pin a few things down, as our installer put in all the paperwork but for some reason there were a few details that weren't clear, particularly the prior approval I'd obtained from SSE for a G59 installation, but I can't remember there being any issue over using the design EPC.

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42 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

All I can say is that SSE accepted our design EPC without question.  They were even pretty helpful in getting our application registered as being "in the system" in order to fix the application date as far as the FIT was concerned.  I remember having to do a bit of chasing around to pin a few things down, as our installer put in all the paperwork but for some reason there were a few details that weren't clear, particularly the prior approval I'd obtained from SSE for a G59 installation, but I can't remember there being any issue over using the design EPC.

Interesting.

 

I tried and tried near the start to get solar PV installed but hit brick wall after brick wall.  I contacted SSE (our supplier then) and they said they would only accept the final EPC that was registered and lodged on the register and of course I won't have that until near completion.

 

I also tried the "unable to lodge an EPC" argument, as nobody would provide an EPC for the static caravan (it would struggle to be good enough even if someone would rate it) so I eventually persuaded a surveyor to type me a letter stating it was EPC exempt, and again SSE would not accept that.

 

Because of all the brick walls I hit I now feel very sore indeed that I have missed any worthwhile FIT which is now why I am striving for an as cheap as possible no FIT system. So forgive me for coming across as somewhat grumpy on the subject.

 

At least I am still collecting the FIT on the old house and will continue to do so until it sells. That has now long passed break even point.

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I've got a feeling that there's an element of pot luck in how your application gets treated.  SSE were pretty helpful when it came to the PV installation; they didn't charge us for the G59 approval and seemed to be pretty efficient at getting the application registered.  I can't say they were at all great at actually paying out though, I think it took around 9 months before we got the first payment out of them, as they kept saying that they were updating their systems and were having problems with FIT payments.  They sorted it all in the end, though, and now payments arrive within a couple of weeks of me sending in the readings.

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You may be right. What I wanted to avoid is paying MCS prices for a system then having the FIT denied because of no EPC.  It may have in practice been accepted, but nobody was prepared to state in advance that it would be.

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13 hours ago, swisscheese said:

The electricity co. won't/don't accept the "As Design" EPC.  Got to be at least the "interim" version - but to get the "elevated" FiT it needs to be before certification of the PV, so the PV is not included in the EPC figure as @le-cerveau has pointed out. - it's all "Ar$e about Face"

It is you MCS accredited installer who registers the system, this is key to getting the full FIT.  Once registered, you then apply for the money from your supplier, I am in the process of doing that at the moment, but waiting for proof that I purchased the system (complicated as was done by my contractor under a JCT so I will wait and see).  I still only have an interim EPC as no final completion yet to get the final EPC!

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52 minutes ago, le-cerveau said:

It is you MCS accredited installer who registers the system, this is key to getting the full FIT.  Once registered, you then apply for the money from your supplier, I am in the process of doing that at the moment, but waiting for proof that I purchased the system (complicated as was done by my contractor under a JCT so I will wait and see).  I still only have an interim EPC as no final completion yet to get the final EPC!

 

That's right, I just gave our installer the design EPC together with the FSAP file, plus the letter from the DNO (SSE are both our DNO and supplier) saying they were OK with an up to 10 kWp PV system under G59.   The installer registered the system without any problems, other than the query about the G59 consent, which came back to me because I was the one who asked the DNO for it.

 

The only reason I'd asked the DNO for the G59 consent was because I wanted to be confident that we could fit more than 16 A per phase, as we had the option of having a 3 phase supply installed. As we were in the process of having the supply connected at the time I went out for PV quotes I needed to make sure that we had a suitable supply installed beforehand.  Also. all the PV installers we were getting quotes from needed to know whether or not the supply was single or three phase, as we wanted to get as much PV in the roof as we could physically fit.

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