Internet tower takes out solar panel
Recently, one of our clients had their internet tower blow down during a Norte. Unfortunately, it took out one of their solar panels. This was the third panel in a row of 6. We got the call on a Friday afternoon.
When we arrived onsite, we found the panel top sheet of glass had shattered. There were three impact points. Amazingly, the panel had continued to work until the next Norte. While it continued to work, the structure of the panel was damaged. When the next Norte came through, the panel bowed and was pulled from the support structure. This weakened the rest of the structure and two additional panels came free.
All three panels were resting on the roof. The two panels that had not been damaged remained undamaged (other than a broken contact line on one panel). We cleaned up the panels and stored them on the roof. We also, took stock of the materials needed to complete repairs.
Saturday morning, we arrived back at the site with 2 loaner panels and everything necessary to get the system back in full operation. It took about 4 hours to straiten the racking system, remove the damaged panels and, reinstall one undamaged panel as well as installing the two loaner panels. We also took the time to check all the rest of the panels to ensure everything was secure.
Cost to the client for this service - $0.00. They have our premium service contract. This service includes up to two call outs per year at no charge. It also includes loaner panels, if there is a problem. The client is now back in full operation in less than 24 hours since letting us know there was a problem. They will continue to use the loaner panel (keeping their system in full operation) while we get a new replacement panel for them.
Unlike regular string inverter systems, this is a micro-inverter system. As such, there was no electrical danger from having these panels break free from the racking. Each micro-inverter affected automatically shut down when the cables to the panel came loose. Had this been a string inverter system, the open cables would have remained live and all the DC electrical power being generated by the rest of the system could have been flowing through the broken lines, causing a highly dangerous situation on the roof.