Masked engineer highlights strangest mistakes in solar deployment


From pv magazine Brazil

The Instagram channel “Solar da Depressão” has a mission to highlight the most significant installation errors in the Brazilian rooftop PV market. It has already amassed more than 62,000 followers.

It is also sponsored by 12 companies interested in ensuring the quality of services provided by Brazilian integrators.

The channel humorously showcases mistakes in PV installations, while emphasizing the importance of choosing reputable companies committed to safety and quality standards.

The page's creator, who prefers anonymity and uses the moniker “The Masked Man,” began collecting photos and videos of subpar installations from WhatsApp groups. He aims to educate customers about the significance of selecting companies dedicated to quality and safety standards.

erros mais bizarros de instalações fotovoltaicas
Bizarre errors in PV installations
Image: Solar da Depressão
Erros mais bizarros de instalações fotovoltaicas
Stepping on panels is a common error
Image: Solar da Depressão

During the recent 360 Solar event in Florianópolis, “O Mascarado” – the creator of Solar da Depressão – discussed his reasons for launching the channel in a conversation with pv magazine.

“I told my clients, ‘Price is not everything, so be very careful because not just anyone can execute a quality photovoltaic project and strictly follow the technical standards and best practices in the sector',” he said.

To preserve the photos and videos stored on his phone, he set up an amateur Instagram account specifically to share them with clients.

“It was a completely unpretentious thing because I spent a lot of time looking for that video of the guy stepping on the module. The idea was just to show it as a warning to customers about the risk of hiring unprepared companies,” he said. “If you have a budget that is much cheaper than the market standard, you need to be careful. What I suggest is a survey of the facilities that the company has already carried out.”

erros mais bizarros de instalações fotovoltaicas

“The name Solar da Depressão was the first one that came to mind and when I searched, this account was available, so I didn't think twice,” he said. “I also didn't ask people to follow the account and I didn't spend money to boost the channel. Everything happened organically and unexpectedly.”

Common errors

The Solar da Depressão channel receives photos and videos sent by its followers almost daily. The most common mistake is for installers to step on the modules during installation.

“I always say that one of the great advantages of solar energy is that the modules have a 25-year warranty and when you step on them, it is impossible to remove the internal microcracks,” said the engineer. “When you go to claim the warranty, the first thing that is done is mapping using a thermal camera that immediately identifies the footfall.”

The channel's creator cited an example in which an inverter was incorrectly installed outside a residence, exposing it to weather conditions and potential theft.

The channel started in 2020 and gained its first sponsor, Canadian Solar, after a year and a half. The creator then started wearing a mask for anonymity during live interactions to protect the identity of installers and maintain a clear focus on preventing mistakes in the solar sector.

Popular content

The page now has 26 sponsors with annual contracts, including companies such as JA Solar, Sungrow, and Solplanet. Its creator, an engineer with an MBA and more than 15 years of experience in large infrastructure projects, has become a managing partner in a solar energy integrator firm that has completed more than 11 MW of projects.

“O Mascarado” has told pv magazine about the main errors that lead to Solar da Depressão posts:

1 – No technical visits before closing a contract

2 – Not reading the manufacturer’s manual

3 – Making corrections to roof structures

4 – Lack of prior structural assessments for rooftops

5 – Incorrect locations for inverters

6 – Inverters installed incorrectly

7 – DC/AC device in the same panel/conduit

8 – Lack of planning for circulation/maintenance areas

9 – Walking on PV modules

10 – Wrong choice of inverter technology

11 – Installations with constant shadows


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