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Emerging Member
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SunMax in the UK

Hi,

 

We're a WISP in the UK and I've been keeping an eye on the SunMax system.

 

A few questions...

 

- Is the system certified for use in the UK and will it work with the energy companies Feed In Tariffs?

- I believe we have to be MCS accredited, is this correct?

- How does the system connect into the electricity supply and is a new meter required?

- Is there anything else I should look out for?

 

Regards,

 

James

 

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Last time I looked it was very US centric and not BS compliant.

UK Comms & Links Engineer.


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Re: SunMax in the UK

@jormerod


Answer your question as below, please feel free to ask if you have any further questions.
 

  1. - Is the system certified for use in the UK and will it work with the energy companies Feed In Tariffs?
    Yes, Sunmax MI is certificated by UK regulation. You could get the certificate at the link https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ilaqzup5kx92kk5/AAB1nljBAIS7a7fzemIGwKbia?dl=0, I am sure it could connect with UK power system, but I am not sure the question about tariffs. If you have the information and web link then we could try to check it.

  2. - I believe we have to be MCS accredited, is this correct?

    Please see history in the forum at link https://community.ubnt.com/t5/SunMAX/UK-SunMax-microgeneration-certification/m-p/1672238#M1866. I think MCS don't have clear requirement/limitation to using PV inverters.

  3. -How does the system connect into the electricity supply and is a new meter required?
    Usually, you have to apply for connecting the solar system from the electricity company, and the electricity company will install a qualified meter in between the connecting point.

 

 

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Re: SunMax in the UK

[ Edited ]

If you look at UK importers and suppliers LiNiTX you will see that the Sunmax page has the disclaimer -

The sunMAX system is currently not compatible outside of the US, watch this space for more details.

UK Comms & Links Engineer.


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Re: SunMax in the UK


UBNT-Bode wrote:

@jormerod


Answer your question as below, please feel free to ask if you have any further questions.
 

  1. - Is the system certified for use in the UK and will it work with the energy companies Feed In Tariffs?
    Yes, Sunmax MI is certificated by UK regulation. You could get the certificate at the link https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ilaqzup5kx92kk5/AAB1nljBAIS7a7fzemIGwKbia?dl=0, I am sure it could connect with UK power system, but I am not sure the question about tariffs. If you have the information and web link then we could try to check it.

  2. - I believe we have to be MCS accredited, is this correct?

    Please see history in the forum at link https://community.ubnt.com/t5/SunMAX/UK-SunMax-microgeneration-certification/m-p/1672238#M1866. I think MCS don't have clear requirement/limitation to using PV inverters.

  3. -How does the system connect into the electricity supply and is a new meter required?
    Usually, you have to apply for connecting the solar system from the electricity company, and the electricity company will install a qualified meter in between the connecting point.

 

 


"I think MCS don't have clear requirement/limitation to using PV inverters."

 

Does this mean we would get an MCS certificate for the SunMax installation or not?

 

Regards,

 

James

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Re: SunMax in the UK

@Fireblade thanks for bringing to our attention—actually, two kinds of microinverters exist (North America & EU) supporting different voltage ranges.

I'm fairly certain the EU inverter works in UK, but it's not legally allowed (IIRC, UK recently passed some strict requirements). . .I need to check this, but regardless, reaching out to LinITX to get them to update their page.

-Jamie

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Thanks @UBNT-Jamie

I looked at SunMAX earlier when it was launched and didn't see that it was compliant in the UK. Several who have it supposedly available here either have it greyed or price unavailable.

The lads at LiniTX may well shed further light as to the legality here.

UK Comms & Links Engineer.


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Re: SunMax in the UK

@jormerod

 

The MCS certificate is for (1) Panels (2) Installers. As what I research from their website, MCS and RECC (

Renewable Energy Consumer Code) looks like a guild to make sure all the installer/members could fit with the standard and process. It should not be a "necessity condition" to get FIT. The MCS certificates are mentioned in many where even in Ofgem is just because they want to keep fewer end-users to do the installation and FIT application themselves, or to make it easier for end-user to find a qualified installer.

 

All FIT project in Ofegm only asks for G83 or G59 certificate for the inverter.

- G83 is up 16a per phase. (Sunmax only support to G83)
- G59 is above 16a per phase


If you would like to become an installer by using sunmax in future, I will suggest you install a small site and go through the FIT process by following below indication, then you may like to register your company at MCS.

 

For Fit application, please refer to

(1) https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/fit/applicants/roo-fit

(2) https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/feed-tariff-fit-guidance-renewable-installations-v...

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi Bode,

I have been looking into the MCS certification in more detail. The panels need to be MCS approved and listed on their website. I cannot see any Ubiquiti panels listed?

http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/consumers/product-search?product_type_id=5145

Are Ubiquiti planning to have the panels MCS approved?

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Re: SunMax in the UK

@jormerod,

We are sorry Sunmax panel doesn't have the plan for MCS approval right now, but we will consider and evaluate this. Once we get any advance in MCS will let you know.
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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi Bode,

Until the panels are MCS approved they cannot be used in the UK as without an MCS installation certificate.

I don't think it would be too much trouble for UBNT to have them certified - http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/installers-manufacturers/product-certification

I'll await your update.

Thanks.
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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi James

 

Ubiquiti also have to get MCS approval for the roof fixings, so without MCS certification for both the panels and the fixings, I cannot see how any one can legally install it in the UK. This decision is deeply dissapointing.

Ron

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi James and Ron,

UBNT will get to know MCS requirements and have self-test before a decision doing MCS. But it would need few months I think.

Before that, usually, a tranditional solar installers have different resources of (1) panels (2)inverters (3) mounting tools which allow customers to choose whatever they like to install. Especially the roof fixing, it would be difficult for one roof fixing to adpat all kinds of roof or ground.

For now, UBNT don't have a MCS for panel and roof fixing for UK. But selling inverters don't need a MCS in UK.
If I may try to suggest, then maybe you could try to talk with some solar installers, then to sell only microinverter to try the market before UBNT's MCS of panel and roof fixing get done.

Best Regards,
Bode
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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi,

Is there any update on the MCS certification? I think there are a couple of us waiting to have sunmax panels Man Happy
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Re: SunMax in the UK

I am sorry the plan for UK is still on hold.

 

 

Bode

 

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Re: SunMax in the UK

is there any update on this? 

 

Im interested in doing these also, i have been struggling to find a solution that does what i want and UBNT seem to do it all! 

 

Just to be clear though it is legal to install these panels in the UK but without MCS Cert you cant get the Feed-In-Tariffs. 

 

You could however install it to save money on your electricity bills Man Happy just wouldnt be able to make money. 

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Re: SunMax in the UK

@marksie1988

 

I tried to find a power company, like NPOWER, in your region nearby Leeds, but I couldn't get much information of solar installation from their websites.

 

If you think it's proper for you, then..

Could you let me know who is your electrical power supplier? or even better you could write your power supplier a email and loop me in there, then we together could check with the power company, and settle the things down.

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi Bode

UK power companies will not assist you to obtain MCS Certification.  MCS Certification is not only about securing a feed-in tariff with the Power Companies.

 

If a customer ALSO wishes to obtain the Feed-In-Tariff, then the Installer will also need to be MCS Certified. But that is a seperate requirement to the MCS Certification for the products, which must be obtained by the Manufacturer. 

 

See http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/installers-manufacturers/installers-certification

 

Basically you need to prove to the Certification Body that your panels comply with EN 61215:2005 or EN 61646:2008 and that anything you install on a roof complies with MCS012. 

 

Panels (This one is more to do with the performance of the panel itself)

http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/images/MCS_005_Issue_2_5_Product_Certification_Requireme...

 

Roofing fixing kits (this is basically about proving your equipment is safe to install on a roof)

http://www.microgenerationcertification.org/images/MCS_012-Issue_2.1_Product_Certification_Scheme_Re...

 

As a major Ubiquiti Distributor, we have received a lot of contact from the industry since the SolarMax product was first announced. Sadly however, on learning that your products are not fully certified for the UK, those potential customers have told us that they will continue to purchase panels and inverters from their existing suppliers as those suppliers have full MCS Certification and means that they can prove to a householder that the panels will not degrade the integrity of the building and will maintain the general constructional safety of the roof and building.  This also in turn ensures that the property is able to continue to be covered by Buildings Insurance.

 

Ron Touw - Ubiquiti Certified Trainer at LinITX
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Re: SunMax in the UK

#@LinITX-Trainer

 

Thank you for your completed information for MCS. Hope we could see it as an exchange of knowledge of the certificate's requirement. Below is my understanding of these certification things. I am not sure it would be exactly the same situation in UK, so it would be good to check with the power supply company. 

 

For Inverter - would need a certificate, because the inverter will connect itself to the grid. So, the power company will check it to prevent your inverter endanger the power system.

 

For Panel - Panel would not endanger the power system, so grid power company should have no right/no need to check the certificate. The panel's certificate is a prove for quality and reliability. A few years ago, many countries and government would give a subsidy counting on per-watt, so when you applied the subsidy the government will check your panels' certificate, which means you do not get some trash panel and poor installer to cheat to get government's subsidy. By the way, they could also help end users to get a good quality panel.

In fact, there should be no legal or illegal problem when you didn't get a subsidy from the government. So, what I try to do is check with the power company, if they could provide net-metering for a saving money only project by using solar, and if they have to check the panel's certificate and by what reason.

 

=================================================================================

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is a nationally recognised quality assurance scheme, supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

MCS certifies microgeneration technologies used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources.

MCS is also an eligibility requirement for the Government's financial incentives, which include the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

=================================================================================

 

 

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Re: SunMax in the UK

Hi Bode

 

We have two aspects.  Technically, the equipment has to comply with "Engineering Recommendation G83". Secondly there is a marketing issue.  The technical half of this problem is the easy one to overcome as last time I checked you already had most of that.  Marketing Solarmax into the UK without MCS Certification is where we have the sticking point which both myself and others have mentioned already.

 

EREC G83...

"5.9.3 Verification Test Report

The Manufacturer shall make available upon request a verification test report confirming that the SSEG has been Type Tested to satisfy the requirements of this Engineering Recommendation. The report shall detail the type and model of SSEG tested, the test conditions and results recorded. All of these details shall be included on a test sheet. The required test sheet and declaration is shown in Appendix 4." (https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/52354/er-g83-2-v5-master-09-07-12-inc-ofgem-comments-cle...)

 

Do you have a copy of the G83 Appendix 4 test sheet and declaration for download?  That would then satisfy the DNOs for interconnection.

 

Further useful background reading here:

http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/asset/c9471d0c-9f8f-4ae5-b303-b909a6368b6N/g83-2-single-pr...

http://www.energynetworks.org/assets/files/electricity/engineering/distributed%20generation/DG%20Con...

http://www.energynetworks.org/assets/files/electricity/engineering/distributed%20generation/DG%20Con...

 

You mentioned talking to the Power Companies. The UK is geographically subdivided into a number of different DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) who are responsible for physically supplying the property (There are also "electricity supply companies" but they are really just responsible for metering and billing) :

 

Scottish and Southern Energy http://www.ssepd.co.uk/

SP Energy Networks http://www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/

Northern Ireland Electricity http://www.nie.co.uk/

Electricity North West http://www.enwl.co.uk/

Northern Powergrid http://www.northernpowergrid.com/

Western Power Distribution http://www.westernpower.co.uk/

UK Power Networks http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/

 

Contacting the electrical power companies will not get you any further than agreeing with you that the inverters can be connected to their grid supply as long as they comply with EREC G83 and pointing you to the same urls I have given above regarding G83.

 

However.... G83 certification is NOT the issue we have with Solarmax. The major market for SolarMax in the UK is not to just connect it to the mains feed, but to sell spare capacity back to the national grid. I.e. to get paid under FITS. This requires both the installer and ALL the equipment to be MCS Certified.  You do not have MCS certification.  Therefore our largest market for selling this product is wiped away for the sake of a piece of paper that only you as a Manufacturer can obtain.  The power companies will not assist you here, neither will a "friendly installer", only an independent accredited Lab can do that. See above links in my previous post for details of how to obtain the certification.

 

Anyway, no one we have spoken to in the UK Solar Panel industry is prepared to take the risk of connecting a Solarmax system to the grid without a MCS Certificate.  They are all very happy re-selling other manufacturers' equipment which is already MCS Certified.

 

We might possibly sell a few kits to those types of customer who are DIY enthusiasts and have no interest of ever connecting it up to the grid or will never apply for FITS. However, the market is a TINY fraction of the total UK Solar panel market we could offer this product to.... if only it had MCS Certification.  We do not therefore believe it is commercially viable to market a product where we might only sell a handful of panels.

 

Please do feel free to contact the DNOs, but they are purely interested in EREC G83 (I went through this research process two years ago and again when I emailed you personally about lack of MCS Certificates last year) , the issue we have is that without MCS Accreditation and then in turn the install being accepted for FITS, no accredited installers will touch the product.  

 

To recap - the issue is not the inverter being accepted by the DNOs or not - it is the lack of interest by the majority of the UK market for a product without MCS Certification, it is certainly not of any interest to any of the dozens of installers I have spoken with when Solarmax was launched in Europe. Man Sad

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