If you are planning to add a solar power system to your roof, you want to know what is involved. You will want to gather information from installers, calculate how much you are likely to save and work out if this is a good budgetary move for you. You also want to know about your obligations when you introduce this type of system and especially as you will be connecting it to the national power grid. What is one of the most important obligations here from a safety perspective?
Feeding the Grid
As you may know, you can transfer excess power generated by your solar system through to the national grid. Many utility companies will give you some valuable revenue for doing so, and this may help to justify the initial cost of the installation. Yet you are also responsible for safety here and especially in the event of a power grid issue.
Grid Isolation and Islanding
Sometimes, the National Grid may switch off due to a major fault, or need to be switched off by local utility providers for urgent maintenance. In this case, you need to ensure that your system is isolated and does not continue to send power into the grid in this eventuality. In the worst-case scenario, technicians could be sent out to fix an issue in the grid make up and could be put in harm's way if the lines were still live. In the worst-case scenario, you could be found liable for any damages if your system was still connected.
In the industry, this is known as anti-islanding. You need to ensure that your generator can detect an issue with the grid and can immediately shut off and isolate your system without delay. To do this, you will need to have an inverter automatically fitted with an anti-islanding function. Whenever the grid goes down, it will kick in immediately, even though it is still tied to the grid itself.
There are various different models on the market, and most providers are fully aware of this requirement. However, you will need to ensure that the system is kept in good condition after it is installed and that the inverter is still fully functional and ready for such an occurrence.
Check to see if your solar power system will continue to generate power for your own use in the event of a lengthy grid blackout. You may have to add a battery backup system to help you do so, but you should discuss this carefully with your installation expert before you proceed.