Any recorded line worker deaths/injuries from domestic grid tie solar?

crossy

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This popped up on another energy forum when discussing DIY grid-tie.

A member was discouraging anyone going DIY grid-tie because "they would end up in jail when a line worked died due to their mistakes".

The counter of course is that "all" (ears because there are people out there who exist just to prove someone wrong) commercially available GTIs intended for domestic use have island protection built in, there's not really anything more needed other than the usual over-current protection before hooking to the grid (local regulations apply of course).

IMHO badly implemented generator transfer "solutions" are a far greater risk (look on Youtube for some really scary advice, including those suggesting using a suicide-lead).

Anyway, it did get me thinking, has anyone actually been injured / killed due to a domestic system that didn't anti-island?
 

sunshine

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A member was discouraging anyone going DIY grid-tie because "they would end up in jail when a line worked died due to their mistakes".
I don;t know of any but this does not say it is not a problem.

DIYers would not know, or even understand, the myriad of requirements set by standards to keep others safe.
As an example I ask this question-
The new Australian standard for solar installation(video from another thread) dictates that cables from panels to inverters that run through ceiling spaces must be above a certain height above the ceiling until one metre from the wall exit point where it can drop down to ceiling height....WHY?
 

Short_Shot

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Lineman have absolutely died due to backfeeding.

That's why this is illegal.

Whether or not it's occurred due to grid tied solar is irrelevant because backfeeding is backfeeding. If they discover a backfeed during a power outage, and they will, you'll be experiencing these consequences yourself even if nobody is ever harmed.

If someone is harmed or killed obviously the consequences are much higher.
 

time2roll

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DIYers would not know, or even understand, the myriad of requirements set by standards to keep others safe.
As an example I ask this question-
The new Australian standard for solar installation(video from another thread) dictates that cables from panels to inverters that run through ceiling spaces must be above a certain height above the ceiling until one metre from the wall exit point where it can drop down to ceiling height....WHY?
So as not to create a trip wire in the attic space for other workmen? So the homeowner does not stack stored items on top of the wire?
 

Short_Shot

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The new Australian standard for solar installation(video from another thread) dictates that cables from panels to inverters that run through ceiling spaces must be above a certain height above the ceiling until one metre from the wall exit point where it can drop down to ceiling height....WHY?
The wall causes a shear point when crap is stacked up, usually against the wall where most people put it if storing things. This is because coming through a wall almost always results in some length that's above the ceiling protruding out from the wall as it steps down onto the ceiling.

Increasing that length gives room to pull free or keeps it away from the condition in the first place.

I'm sure I'm explaining it poorly but it does make sense to me since I've seen so many issues with wiring at locations where it comes through a wall and then steps down to a "floor".
 

Short_Shot

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There is no reason a DIY install cannot comply with all code requirements, obtain a city permit and receive a permit to generate from the utility.
And even if you did it badly a grid tied inverter should cut off on its own anyways.

The issue is people who think they're entitled to backfeed "their own house" to use the solar they "paid good money for" when the power is out, and simultaneously have installed it badly.
 

crossy

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The new Australian standard for solar installation(video from another thread) dictates that cables from panels to inverters that run through ceiling spaces must be above a certain height above the ceiling until one metre from the wall exit point where it can drop down to ceiling height....WHY?
Interesting, does it only apply to solar or all newly installed wiring in the roof space?

If only solar, why would that be?

We're not in Oz, but if a regulation is in place for a good reason then others should take note even if it "doesn't apply here".
 
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crossy

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I must admit this thread has already generated much more interest than I anticipated, anything safety related is most useful / vital to all.

I'm still intrigued as to how a properly implemented GTI, even if terribly installed, could back-feed unless the inverter itself goes faulty (which would happen even if it was commercially installed). What's the legal position then on a commercially installed system?
 

Short_Shot

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It wouldn't.

The issue is without inspections of the install the government has no means to protect anyone from people who don't use a proper inverter in the first place, so they need to create the legal means to handle it when discovered.
 

crossy

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Yup ^^^.
And we visit forums like this (and the other one) to learn how to do it correctly and safely.
 

sunshine

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Interesting, does it only apply to solar or all newly installed wiring in the roof space?
It only applies to solar for a similar reason relating to your post.
The wall causes a shear point when crap is stacked up,
No
So as not to create a trip wire in the attic space for other workmen? So the homeowner does not stack stored items on top of the wire?
No, No.

(I'll leave the correct answer out for awhile)
 

crossy

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It only applies to solar for a similar reason relating to your post.

Something to do with solar panels not having an "off" switch so the panel connections are permanently "hot" and potentially lethal?
 

Short_Shot

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It's obviously to prevent the solar electrons from siphoning back out to the grid.

I bet it needs an air gap at the top to break the siphon too.
 

Short_Shot

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Oh. That makes way more sense.

I was thinking of this in the other direction above the ceiling in an attic space.
 

efficientPV

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Years ago I looked up how many people die from electrocution. Amazed to find that way more than 95% are professionals. I guess they get too complacent. Las week I talked to plant manager at a grid peak load power plant. It sits mostly idle in fall and spring. He said he fired up the generator once and couldn't get it to load. Went out to the hi yard and found someone had removed copper buss wires. Not stolen, they were needed at another location. That generator could have fired up automatically while that guy was removing them. Plant manager was never notified. Stuff happens.
 

Short_Shot

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Years ago I looked up how many people die from electrocution. Amazed to find that way more than 95% are professionals. I guess they get too complacent. Las week I talked to plant manager at a grid peak load power plant. It sits mostly idle in fall and spring. He said he fired up the generator once and couldn't get it to load. Went out to the hi yard and found someone had removed copper buss wires. Not stolen, they were needed at another location. That generator could have fired up automatically while that guy was removing them. Plant manager was never notified. Stuff happens.
I'd bet the reason has as much to do with exposure as well.

Not a lot of folks at home exposed to electricity work.
 

740GLE

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I’m sorry but any lineman that contacts an “energized line” without their PPE and first grounding said line, isn’t following their own safety standards. They are all professionals and have thousands of dollars of test gear and PPE to use everyday.

IMO The risk of a none code install would be more towards the general public than a linemen.

I’m not condoning non code installs, and I want everyone to be safe, but the “cowboy mentality” has killed way more linemen than an improper backfeed.

In storm type situations one of the reasons restoration takes so long is linemen may have to hunt down that homeowner back feeding their generator through the dryer outlet, they then pull that meter and restore the rest of the circuit.
 

Short_Shot

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I’m sorry but any lineman that contacts an “energized line” without their PPE and first grounding said line, isn’t following their own safety standards. They are all professionals and have thousands of dollars of test gear and PPE to use everyday.

IMO The risk of a none code install would be more towards the general public than a linemen.

I’m not condoning non code installs, and I want everyone to be safe, but the “cowboy mentality” has killed way more linemen than an improper backfeed.

In storm type situations one of the reasons restoration takes so long is linemen may have to hunt down that homeowner back feeding their generator through the dryer outlet, they then pull that meter and restore the rest of the circuit.
While you are correct that it's ultimately on them, its still possible. PPE should be the last line of defense, not the first.
 
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