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AC Disconnect: Visible to Firefighter or Visible to Solar Tech? California.

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  • RShackleford
    replied
    I'm trying to buy my AC disconnect (to between my GTI and the grid connection) - needs to be fused, I believe, since I'm doing a line-side tap. Simple AC disconnects, usually noted as being for air conditioners, are very cheap. "Solar" disconnects, on the other hand, seem to be very expensive: https://www.zoro.com/search?q=solar%20disconnect. I assume that's because they are also suitable for DC disconnect, with arc protection. Can I use the inexpensive AC-only disconnect ?
    Last edited by RShackleford; 05-16-2020, 02:04 PM.

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  • RShackleford
    replied
    Originally posted by brycenesbitt View Post

    Here the solar installer nixed the main breaker idea, they wanted a shutoff within reach of the inverter, so nobody else could flip it closed while they are working.
    Here, the POCO seems to be the main driver of the requirement for an AC disconnect. They want to be able to easily and visibly perform a complete disconnect of a grid-tie installation from the grid.

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  • brycenesbitt
    replied
    Originally posted by Ampster View Post

    In my county they let the circuit breaker be the disconnect with lots of labels. My inverter is inside the same wall as the meter and main panel which has the labels and breaker for the solar system. The installer who works in many jurisdictions made a call and got clarification from the building department, when I asked that the inverter be installed inside, instead of as originally detailed on the outside.
    Here the solar installer nixed the main breaker idea, they wanted a shutoff within reach of the inverter, so nobody else could flip it closed while they are working.

    So we get TWO disconnects: one on each side of the basement wall.
    Last edited by brycenesbitt; 05-17-2020, 03:49 AM.

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  • Ampster
    replied
    Originally posted by brycenesbitt View Post

    Local inspector basically said "let's ask around". Probably will end up with dual AC disconnects here, on opposite sides of that wall.
    In my county they let the circuit breaker be the disconnect with lots of labels. My inverter is inside the same wall as the meter and main panel which has the labels and breaker for the solar system. The installer who works in many jurisdictions made a call and got clarification from the building department, when I asked that the inverter be installed inside, instead of as originally detailed on the outside.
    Last edited by Ampster; 05-12-2020, 03:52 PM.

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  • brycenesbitt
    replied
    Originally posted by bob-n View Post
    Code is good, but the local inspector is the one who matters. This is a question for your local inspector.
    Local inspector basically said "let's ask around". Probably will end up with dual AC disconnects here, on opposite sides of that wall.

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  • bob-n
    replied
    Code is good, but the local inspector is the one who matters. This is a question for your local inspector.

    Leave a comment:


  • AC Disconnect: Visible to Firefighter or Visible to Solar Tech? California.

    Setup:
    Underground utilities
    Outside meter
    Outside main breaker leading to inside subpanels.

    A new inverter will be inside of the basement, about 1 meter away.

    Where must the AC and DC disconnect be?
    Standing right in front of either the main panel or the inverter, you can't see the other, without leaning over and looking out a window.

    AC Disconnect Inside Basement.jpg

    --
    It seems that the fire department will want the disconnect at the main panel.
    It seems a future solar tech will want the ac disconnect next to the inverter.
    Section 690.15 says "an ac disconnecting means shall be mounted within sight or in each inverter.".

    --
    The 2020 code adds a safety requirement. Installing the AC disconnect indoors would increase the chance
    of a child trying to open or operate it:

    2020 NEC Significant Code Changes Part 4 690 – Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems 690.15"
    "Where disconnecting means of equipment operating above 30 volts are readily accessible to unqualified persons, any enclosure door or hinged cover that exposes live parts when open shall be locked or require a tool to open."

    --
    The 2020 code adds:
    "An equipment disconnecting means shall be permitted to be remote from the equipment where the equipment disconnecting means can be remotely operated from within 3 m (10 ft) of the equipment."



    So does that mean the AC disconnect can be outside, as that's less than 3 meters away? What does "remotely operated" mean?
    Last edited by brycenesbitt; 05-12-2020, 02:52 AM. Reason: 2020 code change "An equipment disconnecting means shall be permitted to be remote from the equipmen"
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