Insuring Solar Installation

when looking at the photo I was actually wondering whether downdraught coming over that hill played a role in this.

I saw some comments by engineers that a roof originally designed to the correct standard should mostly not be negatively affected by adding panels.

In this case even if properly designed there can still be questions about quality of manufacture of the trusses etc.

fairly old SANS standard

my pointing out the structural engineer clause, is because I wonder about things like claiming for hail damage and the claim is rejected because the install is “not compliant” (i.e. all electrical safety boxes ticked, and then some, but the roof was not signed off by a structural engineer). I truely do not know how many officially approved installs would even include a structural engineer as part of the process.

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I have always owned a corrugated steel roof house until now. This one has solid concrete tiles which weigh plenty!
This was all fine and dandy until we removed an internal wall only to realize it was supporting the roof trusses. In those days when the house was built the carpenter arrived with a pile of timber, a saw and some nails. One purlin was not long enough to be supported at the ends so no problem, they used an internal wall for support…

You can go up to 10 meters on a stretch, if you construct the trusses with the right material, in the right way, etc etc. Saw that number somewhere last night. Also nothing wrong with having load-bearing walls inside the house. You should check if a wall is load bearing before you knock it out :slight_smile:

Jip.

Saw this on another site …
Alternative energy.pdf (45.8 KB)

Insurers are getting clever … this part is of particular interest:

They also give generator rules in that PDF.

The regulations stipulate that the supporting walls should only be the outside walls. Although in older houses it sometimes touch the inner walls, the design should be done that only the outside walls carry the weight. In some cases beam filling is done on the inner walls that create the perception that they are also supporting wall. This allows for changes in the house without compromising the roof integrity.

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Always thankful to be corrected… probably still a good idea to check inside walls just in case :slight_smile:

One place it happens very easily, is a wall that was structural at some point, but then some modifications was made to the house and the roof was changed and now that wall is an internal wall (that used to be an external wall). My kitchen is definitely like that. I can’t just knock walls around.

Roofers were at our house, they told a story where a lady recently wanted to remove some internal walls, with them having to come in and fix the end result.

The house was about 25-30 years old.

So the builders that got the job came in and removed said walls as per the lady’s strict instructions.
Beautiful end results, big open plan house. Saw the photos.

Soon after Cpt storms hit, those big ones last year … and the trusses snapped. Tile roof.

R350k later and the lady’s roof was back where it was supposed to have stayed. Not an insurance claim either.

Internal walls tend to be single bricks … fit for purpose.
If it is double, better check why.

We have some internal double walls in the house.
The entire tile roof, and the long-span trusses, were removed and donated. So when the roof came off, I saw why there were double walls strategically placed. The trusses rested on them. Cleverly done, I must say. The span got just too long. So either more costs on strengthening them, being a tile roof, or double internal walls to mitigate that additional cost.

We then slapped on a concrete slab on the house, these internal double brick walls were used again to mitigate additional costs. Even had to install a concrete pillar strategically in one room.

Engineers are clever people. Can save one a boatload of cash. Just have to ask them to come and have a quick squizz before removing a double brick internal wall … and never remove a pillar that you cannot see what is resting on it. :laughing:

So true. Saw that in my own home. So many expansions over the years that many of my internal walls use to be external. Lucky for me, the expansions were done in such a way that each expansion has its own roof. No confusion there, but not everybody does it that way.

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This is my understanding as well. Now that we have roof truss vendors and the frames are shipped to site pre assembled the design of these will be such that only the outside walls support the structure. (Presumably done by a software design program)

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I just got a call from a company. Say they are offering a product - checking of solar systems. This can be ad hoc by arrangement, or you can pay them a monthly sub and they come out twice a year.

They will clean your panels, they will check all the connections, they say they will check the settings on your inverter, check the SPDs (eny fule can do that, surely?), and they will do thermal imaging of the system, including the battery.

Very interesting. They say they are doing this for two reasons.

  1. Gap in the market
  2. Insurers are getting worried about fire risks and so want, or soon will want, regular reports from a competent third party, including the thermal imaging.

EDIT
This also fits in with COJ’s SSEG registration process. You have to submit an “operation philosophy” document which promises things like

“Regularly cleaning solar panels to maintain optimal energy production. Removing dust, dirt, and debris that may accumulate on the surface”

and

“Maintaining comprehensive records of all inspections, maintenance activities, and
performance data. Submitting reports to relevant authorities as required.”

Jikkel! There’s a whole new industry being born here.

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Market Saturation happening so differentiation is needed.

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Jip, been seeing it coming for a while now.

You cannot just leave a solar installed and expect it will work for decades.

  • Some parts are exposed to the elements. Need checking.
  • Some parts heat and contract every day. Need to check the connections.
    etc.

Also, sparkies that specialize in fixing other sparkies/installers’ messes. EDIT: Solar installation messes, that is.

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Yes. My system is 4.5 years old now (ish) and the only maintenance has been to clean the panels from time to time (hose and cold water). It’s a good bet that something should at least be checked.

But it’s like so many other things. I think by now we understand that a car is going to need servicing, but everything else kind of takes us by surprise. We think the wiring and plumbing in our house are going to last forever. It doesn’t occur to us that the swimming pool is just sitting in earth and earth moves and so things will eventually crack (happened to me, and I started losing water at an alarming rate).

I remember my then boss interupting my joy at having signed the deal and taken transfer and owning my first house. He said “buy a good tool kit. You’re going to need it.”

Yeah, I did that for years, the DIY fixing and stuff. Bought the tools.

All went well until I realized that one day, the wife again asked: Why don’t you fix it!?

When a specialist comes in, they make it look SO EASY!

There are reasons for that:

  1. The right tools for the job … and they have a LOT of tools and goeters. Tools that last and can do the job easily. Those aint cheap.
  2. More importantly … years of experience. You cannot get 10 years of experience faster than 10 years. THAT is why it looks so “easy”.

Sometimes it is cheaper to get a professional fixer in. Just the tools you need is more expensive. :laughing:

And don’t dare tell me you will use it again and again … we don’t. We have to build more cupboards for our tools to store them in. :innocent:

… someone needs to point that out …

When you get old and ‘afgeleef’ you become tires of doing those niggly maintenance items…then these entrepreneurs become a source of call…

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Indeed. I’m tired of fixing stuff (also my “fixing” generally ends up costing more money than if I’d just got somebody in in the first place). Plus I have made the wife a promise that I won’t go up ladders anymore. She will countenance me using a step ladder to get at a light bulb, but that’s about it. And she has good reasons.

I certainly don’t want to be clambering up on the roof cleaning panels. There’s 6 I can do from the ground with a hose, but the others require the dreaded climb.

With the amount of shiite I have broken in and around the house the last few years, I’m very close to being banned from washing dishes - 2 people, dishwasher too much effort.

No, it is not a scam to get out of it either. :rofl:

“Stuff must not break so easily man”, my argument. And it includes me. As Robert points out, “afgeleef” se dinges man! :rofl:

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My insurance company when asked about insurance on my solar system said that I need a CoC for the installation. Since this was a simple solar PV hot water geyser system I don’t have a CoC having installed it myself.
Now that I’m expanding my system I’m happy to have a tame accredited sparky that can get the approvals for the installation from CoCT.
Armed with this I’ll be able to provide the CoC to the insurance company.

They are soon going to be wanting a lot more than a CoC. Though as a rule, when the wiring of the house changes, get a fresh CoC and give your insurer a copy. Otherwise if the worst happens they will send out a loss adjuster, and the moment he finds some wiring that doesn’t fit what’s declared on the CoC then all bets will be off.

They are going to want to know (already, or soon) what type of battery you have. I have already seen a sample policy for one insurer (I can’t name the name) who stipulates that they will only insure LIFE batteries. They don’t ask you to stipulate the battery, but they draw your attention to that wording and if anything happens and the battery chemistry turns out to be something else then they will just wash their hands of you.

They will also start wanting to see SSEG registration, not because they are concerned about billing arrangements between you and Eskom or the Municipality, but because the registration gives them some confidence that standards have been adhered to and an engineer has inspected the installation.

I hear rumours that they are going to start wanting to see proof of maintenance. Not to get insurance, but if you claim. This is not unprecedented. If you claim for storm damage and Mr Loss Adjuster is sent out and rules that you have not properly maintained your roof and/or gutters then, as his job title suggests, they will adjust their loss.

Can only add to this thread that I also recently had my system insured with Outsurance.

They advised that it is part of building insurance and if I feel that my standard cover is sufficient, then fine.

I opted to add the value of the system to my premium and it came to roughly R75.00 more.

The frightening thing is that when I asked where I can email my COC to, the reply that “no, we do not need this…”

You can bet your sweet bottom dollar this will be required when the pawpaw hits the fan.

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