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Going solar safely: installer checklist for customers <p>'The phenomenon of non-stop Eskom load-shedding especially at high stages, and the prospect of the power supply situation worsening come the winter months, is seeing a lot of uptake of rooftop solar PV (photovoltaic) systems paired with batteries. It is often difficult to know which system to choose and which installers will provide safe and legal services and installations. Although the City does not vet installers in the private sector, it has developed a checklist to assist residents who are exploring this option. Customers are encouraged to weigh up the information they have, to ask questions and ensure they choose a legitimate installer. </p><p>'The trend of customers switching to solar PV is likely to increase with the incentives the City has made available, namely the cash for power initiative and the 25c per kWh incentive feed-in tariff for rooftop solar PV systems. Cape Town is the only metro in South Africa to offer these incentives. We encourage our customers to go solar and to do so in a safe and legal manner,' said the City's Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Councillor Beverley van Reenen. </p><p><strong>Three types of systems: </strong></p><table cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.3333%;"><strong>GRID-TIED PV </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.3333%;"><strong>GRID-TIED HYBRID PV </strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.3333%;"><strong>STANDBY PV (INTERCONNECTED WITH ELECTRIC INSTALLATION)</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p>Connected in parallel to the electricity grid either directly or through a customer's internal wiring. </p><ul><li>It includes grid-tied with export of excess electricity or grid-tied with no export.</li></ul></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">These grid-tied systems are able to disconnect the incoming electricity supply and connect the essential load to the PV system or stored energy in batteries. </td><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p>Electrical loads (home) are supplied by either the PV system or the grid but never both at the same time. </p><p>Systems include: </p><p>Passive standby UPS used as standby hybrid small-scale embedded generation and alternative supply.  </p><p>The City <span style="text-decoration:underline;">discourages</span> solar PV systems operating as standby systems as they are often incorrectly configured, pose risks to household and grid safety and slow down the authorisation process. </p></td></tr></tbody></table><p> </p><p><strong>CHECKLIST FOR SAFE AND LEGAL ROOFTOP SOLAR PV INSTALLATIONS</strong></p><table cellspacing="0" width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:100%;"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Verify </strong></p><ul><li>Ask if the solar PV service provider has substantial prior experience in solar PV installations, with references.</li><li>Establish whether the solar PV service provider designed, supplied and installed the systems or only carried out one or two of these steps. </li><li>It is recommended that the PV service provider is an accredited service provider under a third party quality assurance programme such as: PV Green Card: A South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) endorsed programme <a href="http://www.pvgreencard.co.za/">www.pvgreencard.co.za</a>; P4 Platform quality assurance programme; <a href="http://www.pqrs.co.za/the-pv-quality-assuranceprogram">www.pqrs.co.za/the-pv-quality-assuranceprogram</a> </li><li>Request proof of electrical Certificates of Compliance (CoCs) and/or professional engineer sign offs on previous installations. </li><li>Ask for proof of previous installations that have been City-authorised. </li><li>Find out if the solar PV service provider employs or subcontracts qualified staff to design and install systems. Ask for proof of up to date registration (also called a wireman's licence and DoLE registration). It is critical.  </li><li>Ensure that the inverter proposed is on the City's <a href="https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Forms%2c%20notices%2c%20tariffs%20and%20lists/Approved%20Photovoltaic%20%28PV%29%20Inverter%20List.pdf">approved inverter list</a>. </li><li>Grid-tied systems must be signed off by an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) registered professional. Check that the solar PV service provider has such a professional available.</li><li>Find out if the installer is registered with SAPVIA and the Electrical Contractors Board (ECB) – it's not compulsory but shows commitment to industry best practice. </li></ul></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> Be energy-wise to reduce system costs</strong></p><p>Before installing a solar PV system, become more electricity-efficient to reduce the size and thus cost of the system required. </p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> Systems must be safe and legal</strong></p><p>Installers must apply to the City to authorise the system for grid connection to ensure safety of the electrical network, your home and all who work on the electrical grids. If City staff and contractors do not know about systems connected to the grid, they run the risk of electrocution. Regardless of the type of solar PV system being installed, authorisation must be obtained in writing from the City prior to installation. Find the necessary documentation here: <a href="http://www.capetown.gov.za/SolarPV">www.capetown.gov.za/SolarPV</a></p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> No City-charged authorisation fee</strong></p><p>An installer may however charge a fee for the professional services rendered to perform the authorisation on the customer's behalf.<strong> </strong></p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> Get a structural engineering assessment</strong></p><p>Make sure roofs can withstand the weight and wind load of solar PV panels where necessary. </p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Building plans not required for PV systems</strong></p><p>Unless the panels protrude more than 600 mm above the highest point of the roof, or they are raised more than 1,5 m above any point on the roof, or if ground-mounted, the panels in their installed position project more than 2,1 m above the natural/finished ground level.</p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Buy the correct inverter </strong></p><p>Find the list of approved inverters at <a href="http://www.capetown.gov.za/SolarPV">www.capetown.gov.za/SolarPV</a> </p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Check solar PV panel standards</strong></p><p>At the very least, get a Certificate of Compliance with the SANS/ IEC standards: </p><p>SANS/IEC 61215: 2015 − Crystalline silicon terrestrial PV modules. </p><p>SANS/IEC 61646: 2016 − Thin film terrestrial PV modules</p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Store batteries safely </strong></p><p>In a properly racked, dry, well-ventilated room. </p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Ensure specialised circuit breakers are used </strong></p><p>The DC current from the PV panels requires specialised circuit breakers. </p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Property owners responsible for the safety of the installation</strong></p><ul><li>Insist on electrical Certificate of Compliance from a registered electrical contractor (electrician) who performs the installation who are registered with the Department of Labour and Employment.</li><li>All PV systems installed in the City grid must be authorised by the City. </li><li>Commercial and industrial installations must be certified by an ECSA-registered professional engineer, certified engineer or technologist. Residential installations may be certified as above or by ECSA-registered professional technician.</li></ul></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Get a quality assurance certificate such as a PV Green Card.</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Get all available warranties and manuals</strong></p><p>For the installation as a whole and for its components (solar modules, inverters, structural system).</p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><p><strong>✓</strong><strong> </strong><strong>Recourse for poor work</strong></p><p>An independent inspection of the installation may be requested. In Cape Town, an organisation that carries out this work is the Electrical Approved Inspection Authority of Southern Africa (EAIASA). Before it can carry out an inspection, it must be provided with the Certificate of Compliance and the customer will need to pay an inspection fee.</p></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default"><strong>For more information visit: </strong><a href="https://resource.capetown.gov.za/documentcentre/Documents/Graphics%20and%20educational%20material/CCT-Energy-PV-Brochure.pdf"><strong>goingsolarsafely_info</strong></a></td></tr></tbody></table><p><strong> </strong></p><p><strong>End</strong><br><strong> </strong><br></p><p><br></p>2023-02-14T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#dfdcb4f5-2ec2-4bd4-9a9f-3086ef5830a7;L0|#0dfdcb4f5-2ec2-4bd4-9a9f-3086ef5830a7|energy;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac;L0|#0b195be29-9300-4dc7-ac99-92629ce847ac|electricity;GP0|#58287e80-5989-49d9-ad4f-9a060f5e0934;L0|#058287e80-5989-49d9-ad4f-9a060f5e0934|solar10

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