New enclosure rating for solar PV system installations

Thursday, 29 October, 2020

New enclosure rating for solar PV system installations

New information issued by Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office advises that DC isolators in new solar PV installations must have their own dedicated enclosure for outdoor use and be IP56NW rated. The NW is a new higher weatherproof rating and is specifically for DC isolators. IP56 and IP66 rated isolators, without the NW, are not suitable for outdoor use.

For PV systems installed on homes, the DC isolator must be certified and registered on the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) national database and have the RCM mark. If it’s not marked IP56NW (or IP66NW) and not registered on EESS national database, don’t buy or install it.

It is important to remember the following when installing DC isolators in solar PV installations:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure the enclosure is sealed appropriately to maintain the IP rating.
  • Ensure a suitable shroud is in place if the DC isolator is exposed to weather/sunlight.
  • Ensure that cable entry is not into the top of the enclosure.
  • Don’t drill holes in the enclosure for drainage. If needed, use purpose-made anti-condensation and water drains or pressure equalisation valves that are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Also remember to explain the importance of ongoing maintenance to customers when installing solar PV installations.

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