Service Call: System Down (for 13 Years!)

Once upon a time, a 10 kW battery-based system went wonky. Certain circuits in the house would simply stop working. Breakers tripped, usually on sunny days (yes, we do get sunny days in Upstate New York).

Over time, the homeowners worked with the original installer, then another service company, then another installer – to no avail. The system simply wouldn’t work reliably.

Eventually they decided to give up; they bypassed the PV system and left their 58 modules to sit, unused and unloved, on their ground-mounts (sniff sniff)…

Thirteen years later, a friend introduced the homeowner to Dave of Sungineer Solar. And if there’s anything that Dave loves, it’s an unsolved puzzle! [Second only to his massively pregnant wife who is ghost-writing this blog post… love you, sweetie!]

  • Dave checked out the wiring – no blatant wiring errors.
  • He checked the system design, looking for adequate sizing of breakers/wires, proper equipment grounding, etc. – looked ok.
  • He checked for ground faults – nothing.
  • He turned on the system – also nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. Because the system had sat for so long, the batteries had completely discharged and, unfortunately, were not salvageable.
the system: not Dave’s preferred wiring techniques, but we’ll work with what you’ve got!

With a fresh set of batteries, Dave was able to power up the system. It provided power to the house – but the batteries weren’t charging, nor was the system selling power back to the grid.

He Read The Manual [wife refrains from inserting personal commentary… love you, sweetie!] and properly programmed the system, which turned out to be key: this particular inverter has unusually complex and specific programming requirements. He also tidied up a few wiring mistakes to prevent possible future issues.

As part of the service wrap up, Dave did a walk-through with the homeowners to give them hands-on training in how the system is designed. He left them with a written “how to” document for future reference.

explaining how the system works

Finally, after 13 years, the homeowners have the ability to sell power back to the grid, as well as power parts of their home when the grid goes down. And the homeowners are more confident in their knowledge of how the system works.

Supposedly unsolvable head-scratcher solar/PV problems are Dave’s favorite service calls!