Removing solar panels whilst alive !

edited 7 June 2019 at 4:46PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
10 replies 2.9K views
DREKLYDREKLY Forumite
199 Posts
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edited 7 June 2019 at 4:46PM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
Ha, well, my last post was kindly deleted, so perhaps this
post will be approved....
I have a 16 panel 4Kw system with a solaredge inverter, and want
to remove at least two of the lower panels, that will get shading later this year, as then, the sun hides behind my neighbours 60ft high beech trees... Doing this should not significantly reduce late summer production.


Not wishing to do this in the dark, what care should I take to avoid being killed by DC from a 250W panel ???
They weigh 18.5kg, and the lowest 8 are on a bungalow just above gutter height, so should be do-able on a ladder !


(eventually, ALL panels will be removed, as the property will be demolished, so I will have spare panels if someone wants them),
or I could ground mount them somewhere and experiment with charging batteries !
Do I need to wear thick rubber gloves and wellington boots on the ladders?:rotfl:
16 x Enhance 250w panels + SolarEdge Inverter + TREES :(

Replies

  • 1961Nick1961Nick Forumite
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    DREKLY wrote: »
    Do I need to wear thick rubber gloves and wellington boots on the ladders?:rotfl:
    Wear your best suit....

    .......it'll save the undertaker a job.:D
    4kWp (black/black) - Sofar Inverter - SSE(141°) - 30° pitch - North Lincs
    Installed June 2013 - PVGIS = 3400
    Sofar ME3000SP Inverter & 5 x Pylontech US2000B Plus Batteries - 12kWh
  • HexaneHexane Forumite
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    I would suggest that an essential tool you need to complete this task, is a qualified electrician.

    No vested interest here, as I am not one myself and not related to any.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • Dave_FowlerDave_Fowler Forumite
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    Each panel gives out a voltage of around 30 - 40V so nothing too lethal there. However the sum of all the panels in series will be 16x40V. This is very dangerous!

    You say you have a SolarEdge inverter, so, using the 'panel shut-down' switch on the inverter you can shut-down all the panels so that the output from each optimizer is 1V. The inverter will tell you when all the optimizers have been shut down to 1V each (It takes about 5 minutes). You can then (and only then) safely disconnect the panels; keep the optimizers connected to the panels.

    When you have removed the two panels, reconnect the two ends from the remaining panel optimizers to complete the circuit back to the inverter and switch on. The inverter - over a period of around 15 minutes - will talk to the remaining optimizers, turning them back on. It will then report that there are 14 in circuit.

    I used this method when I had to replace a broken panel last year.

    Dave F
    Solar PV System 1: 2.96kWp South+8 degrees. Roof 38 degrees. 'Normal' system
    Solar PV System 2: 3.00kWp South-4 degrees. Roof 28 degrees. SolarEdge system
    EV car, PodPoint charger
    Lux LXP 3600 ACS + 4 x 2.4kWh Aoboet LFP 2400 battery storage. Installed Feb 2021
    Location: Bedfordshire
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Dave, can I ask something, but first don't think I'm disagreeing with you, I'm not, I'm just looking for free info on top off what has already been said.

    Solaredge pride themselves on the safety and speed of their kit. I recall something about the panels being 'safe' in just milliseconds in the case of a powercut. There was even 'naughty' talk by miss-sellers that we would all need to upgrade to Solaredge type kit for future H&S rules, particularly for the safety of firemen.

    So, whilst 100% accepting the need for proper shutdown procedures as you've set out, can you explain what Solaredge does to 'make safe' so quickly, in case someone does something daft?

    BTW, yes I am being lazy, but I suspect you might be able to explain it to me better than any understanding I get from official documentation. :D
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Dave_FowlerDave_Fowler Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Dave, can I ask something, but first don't think I'm disagreeing with you, I'm not, I'm just looking for free info on top off what has already been said.

    Solaredge pride themselves on the safety and speed of their kit. I recall something about the panels being 'safe' in just milliseconds in the case of a powercut. There was even 'naughty' talk by miss-sellers that we would all need to upgrade to Solaredge type kit for future H&S rules, particularly for the safety of firemen.

    So, whilst 100% accepting the need for proper shutdown procedures as you've set out, can you explain what Solaredge does to 'make safe' so quickly, in case someone does something daft?

    BTW, yes I am being lazy, but I suspect you might be able to explain it to me better than any understanding I get from official documentation. :D


    Hi Mart. Page 47 of the SolarEdge installation manual Version 1.5 (2012 vintage) has a section 'Replacing and adding system components'

    it says
    1. Shut down the inverter by turning OFF its ON/OFF switch and the DC switch. The inverter goes into Shutdown mode and displays the following message:
    DC VOLTAGE NOT SAFE!
    DO NOT DISCONNECT!
    VDC: 72.0
    This message is displayed until the default safety voltage is 50V

    2. Switch off the AC to the inverter.

    3. You can now add or remove power optimizers, add or remove strings, change connections of power optimizers or strings or replace the inverter.
    If you cannot see the inverter panel, or there is a malfunction indicated on the LCD panel, then switch off the AC to the inverter and wait 5 minutes for the input capacity of the inverter to discharge.
    Dave F
    Solar PV System 1: 2.96kWp South+8 degrees. Roof 38 degrees. 'Normal' system
    Solar PV System 2: 3.00kWp South-4 degrees. Roof 28 degrees. SolarEdge system
    EV car, PodPoint charger
    Lux LXP 3600 ACS + 4 x 2.4kWh Aoboet LFP 2400 battery storage. Installed Feb 2021
    Location: Bedfordshire
  • DREKLYDREKLY Forumite
    199 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts
    Hi Dave, thanks for your advice, I know how knowledgeable you are, from seeing many of your posts previously...
    Can you tell me exactly where the "panel shut-down" switch is located please?
    I have the SE3500 inverter, underneath between various cable glands is a push button switch, that cycles through output info, etc, but in a little protective cage to the left front, is a toggle switch, marked 0 - 1, not sure what that does, could that be it?
    Thanks for your guidance !
    16 x Enhance 250w panels + SolarEdge Inverter + TREES :(
  • Dave_FowlerDave_Fowler Forumite
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    DREKLY wrote: »
    Hi Dave, thanks for your advice, I know how knowledgeable you are, from seeing many of your posts previously...
    Can you tell me exactly where the "panel shut-down" switch is located please?
    I have the SE3500 inverter, underneath between various cable glands is a push button switch, that cycles through output info, etc, but in a little protective cage to the left front, is a toggle switch, marked 0 - 1, not sure what that does, could that be it?
    Thanks for your guidance !
    Hi Drekly,

    On my inverter (SE3000) it is a rotary switch marked 0 - 1. It would be quite easy to check if your switch is the same - just switch it over and see if the display is similar to the one in the manual.

    @gefnew Thanks for the link to the pdf. It is interesting; although it has the same version number as my installation manual it is different in that it adds quite a bit of useful added simplified. information.

    Dave F
    Solar PV System 1: 2.96kWp South+8 degrees. Roof 38 degrees. 'Normal' system
    Solar PV System 2: 3.00kWp South-4 degrees. Roof 28 degrees. SolarEdge system
    EV car, PodPoint charger
    Lux LXP 3600 ACS + 4 x 2.4kWh Aoboet LFP 2400 battery storage. Installed Feb 2021
    Location: Bedfordshire
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    As well as the electrical considerations also be aware that although they are the guts of 20kg they are large shaped (span of holding) and awkward to handle.
    I put up some last year, similar type of bungalow and it really was a 2 person job if you want them to remain intact ;-) I would be lowering them to someone on a ladder already rather than trying to manhandle them down/lower on a rope.
    I waited for a cloudy, windless day as I tried moving them about the garden on a windy day and it was very difficult, so wouldnt have liked to have tried it on a ladder or roof in the wind.
    Wear heavy gloves as the edges of the frames can be relatively thin and if they slip they may well cut skin easily.


    Oh and the last bolt/fastener will always be the most difficult to get out ;-) So beware of trying to move and twising frames/rails etc as none of it likes much torsional stress.
  • DREKLYDREKLY Forumite
    199 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts
    Hey Joe ! I appreciate your advice, thanks!!
    I don't anticipate doing this single-handed, and if I have to pay
    someone (the builders? who will strip the roof tiles/demolish,etc)
    then so be it. watch this space..... :)
    16 x Enhance 250w panels + SolarEdge Inverter + TREES :(
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