Solar Panel Installation - Can you help explain?

Today I had 4.5kw solar panels installed on two sides of my roof. I asked the installer to put the inverter down the dead side of my house (to keep the hot water service and aircon company). The installer said where it had to go, which was right beside my back door, a very ugly inclusion to a space I use all the time. I had the feeling it was the easy option (he had another job to go to) rather than a necessity. Can anyone tell me how far my dual tracker inverter can be from the meter before losing efficiency? My house is basically a 10metre box, so it is not far from anywhere to anywhere, really. Would appreciate some help finding this out. So far, my googling has turned up little.

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Hi Dawn, 20 metres is no problem if suitably sized cabling is used. 4mm^2 should be plenty sufficient for up to 20m cable runs with a 4.5kW system, to avoid any voltage rise issues.
The “efficiency issues” are purely the losses in the cable due to resistance in the Copper, and by going to larger cross-sectional area cable, you can extend the distance without losing any efficiency.
It is best to place the inverter in a spot to avoid direct sunlight - heat is the enemy of electronic devices.


Thanks for such a quick reply, Gordon. I couldn’t find that information even in the product manual and appreciate your response.

Because I was very clear about where I wanted it with the seller, and then again with the installer, I will ask them to shift it, now that I know I was told incorrect information, or at the very least, not given all the facts and it would have been fine where I wanted it. (Easy access, under cover, out of direct sunlight!)

As advised in the Choice article on solar, I checked. The seller is a member of Clean Energy Australia and the installer is an accredited installer with them. So when he told me I would lose efficiency and it would not work as well if he put it where I wanted, I believed him. After some discussion, I eventually (and very begrudgingly) agreed to it being by the back door but he knew I was not happy. In my ignorance, I thought it would be a tidy, metal box. I didn’t know it was accompanied with oversize switches, hoses, cords and warning stickers.

I would go with this option since the seller and installer were both informed, the installer should have come equipped with the necessary sized cable to install it where you wanted it.

The installers usually like to position the inverter next to the meter box. Out of sunlight is important.

I second what Gordon said. I’d also add that the incremental cost of the heavier cable is probably minimal in the scheme of things and well worth paying to get it put somewhere less obtrusive.

Maybe the installer had previously done Foxtel installs? :slight_smile: If its possible to get a different installer to relocate it, that might be wise, unless you are at site to watch his work … some people don’t like to be told !! Good luck with it !