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K & C Stork Solar Power Consultants

Installation & Maintainance PDF Print E-mail
Installation and Maintenance with solar systems

When installing a renewable energy system, be sure you follow the following guidelines, and all applicable Australian Standards. The standards applicable can be purchased from the relevant authority, www.standards.com.au . A guide to some of the standards covered are the following.

  • Mounting frames should be secure, designed to applicable wind loading and materials should be designed to ensure that no galvanic corrosion occurs. eg steel bolts in an aluminium frame - in general stainless steel and aluminium materials are required.
  • All wiring circuits must be protected with fuses or circuit breakers, specified to the particular equipments needs.
  • Be aware that it is illegal for an unqualified person to wire 240 volt power systems. Get a licensed electrician to perform these tasks for you.
  • Battery enclosures should always be well ventilated, and appropriate safety signage to Australian Standards should be placed inside eg "Explosive gas" and "no smoking" signs.
  • Batteries must never be kept in the same area as control equipment or generators that could cause sparking. This may cause an explosion and fire. Battery contacts must be kept shrouded/covered to prevent conductive elements such as cables, spanners and other tools from connecting across the terminals.
  • Liquid electrolyte batteries must be installed with spill trays, ie: a suitable secondary container, in case a battery case is damaged. This container must retain the amount of liquid contained in one battery as a minimum.

Photovoltaic power systems require little maintenance, however the following precautions are necessary.

  • Baking/bicarbonate soda and water should be kept near the battery enclosure at all times to neutralise acid spills (1 heaped tbsp bicarb soda per litre of water)
  • Always isolate the solar array, inverter, charger and batteries before performing any maintenance or other work on a system.
  • The solar panels only need to be kept clean and free of leaves, bird droppings and dirt that may fall on them. Periodically wipe them down with water and trim overhanging branches etc away to prevent shading.
  • Batteries require by far the most maintenance in a system. They need to be kept charged and the connections must be checked regularly to ensure that they are not loose. Loose and/or corroded connections could heat up and waste power or even cause fires.
  • If the battery tops are dirty, wipe them with a mixture of baking soda and water (a heaped tablespoon per litre water). Be sure that you do NOT get any baking soda inside the battery, as this will neutralise the acid within the battery, and destroy it.
  • If corrosion or electrolysis is showing on any battery terminal, clean it thoroughly and re-connect using a suitable conductive grease, such as no-oxid. This is available from our catalogue.
  • Flooded cell batteries will also need distilled or pure water added periodically.