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Massachusetts Install - What Is Required to Be Mounted Outdoors?

TORQU3

Member
Sep 6, 2018
381
273
MA
I'm at the point of just waiting for an install date to be scheduled. My system consists of 39 panels, SE 10kw inverter, and 4 power walls. Early on I requested everything be installed inside, initialy in the garage but that was changed to the utility room due to spacing requirements for the power walls. I figure it will be easier there as well since the main panel is there as well as the service entrance. I realize some items like AC or DC disconnects may be required outside.

I had asked multiple times for a more detailed plan in addition to the roof layout and had not received it. Now that a local electrical and building permit has been issued I contacted the building department administrator to see if they could provide me the detailed plan submitted. They did!

It all looks good. They integrated my 200A manual transfer switch for my large gen set as requested. But I see the inverter, solar power meter, two AC disconnects, and what is labeled an automatic relay (gateway?) are indicated as located outside. I want all electronics inside out of the weather, extreme temps, and to minimize the eyesore on the side of my house where we frequently spend time.

While I'm fairly familiar with code for most typical items, there are many aspects that I'm not familiar enough with to argue on this project. Also, I'm not exactly sure what National Grid may dictate regarding a meter location.

I expect at a minimum a DC disconnect upstream of the inverter will need to be outside, and potentially an AC disconnect for the solar and ESS.

Can the SMART incentive revenue meter be installed inside? I expect this won't be able to be argued either.

My main focus is on the gateway and inverter to be inside.

Should I wait until install day or get ahead of this now with my project manager?
 

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Zinc_Saucier

Member
Jul 30, 2020
24
13
Massachusetts
I’m Eversource not NG (and 3rd party install), but for my install the inverter is in the basement, but both the gateway and PV meter will be outside. I asked about moving the gateway inside, and was told I could do that if I wanted to put a different disconnect outside at an additional cost.
 
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adspguy

Member
Dec 1, 2016
154
126
Bedford MA
In this thread Eversource approval for solar? I show pictures of my eversource approved MA install including what is outside. Eversource requires an external big switch (in my case 150A) to disconnect solar and powerwall from the grid. Outside is my net-meter feed meter, tesla gateway, aforementioned switch, and the smart production meter. I have the inverter and powerwalls inside to protect against our lovely winter weather (and summer heat). The dc goes into the basement to the solaredge inverter, which feeds ac out to the solar production meter. Then the ac comes back in to an inside panel which has a 60A solar breaker and 3 30A breakers for the 3 powerwalls. The output of that panel goes out to the big switch.
 
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solarAddict

Member
Jan 26, 2020
105
44
MA
I'm in MA and had 10kw array / 2PWs system installed by 3rd party in December.

First I want to say contact your PM asap. Try to bring him on site and discuss where you want to install what. I requested this visit and I'm happy I did as I got exactly what I wanted.

I had to upgrade the service (100 -> 200) and move the meter outside. The initial proposal would land the etire barrage of metal boxes on the front of our house. I objected and we found the another place acceptable for everyone.

Speaking about the setup. I had an main panel (and old meter) in the garage. I didn't want to have PWs in garage
as it's tight enough already and garage is cold. There is a service/storage room behind the garage and I wanted to have PWs there. So we agreed that both meters and all required disconnects would be outside (have a pic posted here); gateway is mounted next to main service panel in garage, and PWs and inverter would be in service room. When It was done we passed the inspection with now questions.
 
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adspguy

Member
Dec 1, 2016
154
126
Bedford MA
My install was done by tesla. The additional three exterior added items (tesla gateway, disconnect, and smart meter) are on the side of my house. In my case, putting the gateway inside would have made things more complicated due to where the power entry to the basement is located. My main panel, a subpanel, and a new solar/pw aggregation panel are all next to each other in the basement. They did mention that the SMART production meter is required to be outside by eversource. The aggregation panel was added inside in my case because it would have been more difficult run wires to use the internal breaker space in the gateway which they show in your drawing. When the team did the install they were smart and flexible about the electrical install, involving me in the decision making process. YMMV. The locations of the different elements were not shown at all correctly in the original drawings, not anywhere near the actual. I did call in to try to address that prior to the install, but they said that I should just take it up with the team when they come for the install. Also YMMV.

I did not need a separate external solar cutoff, just the one big 150a solar/pw switch to make the town and eversource happy. The only cuttoff for dc solaredge built in on/off switch in the basement.
 
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TORQU3

Member
Sep 6, 2018
381
273
MA
Thanks for all the information. I reached out to my project manager and asked that everything that isn't required to be outside be moved inside. I know items such as the main ac disconnect for solar/power wall and the meter will need to be outside. There will be plenty of room made on the other side of that wall as well as on an adjacent wall. I don't want the eyesore on the side of my house since we have a patio area there. Also, I don't see the need to have the inverter and gateway exposed to the elements, wide range of temps, and UV.
 

ScoGold

Member
Mar 30, 2020
59
30
Boston, MA
I’m in Massachusetts too and had my Tesla Solar Panel no PowerWall install last Friday. The three new boxes were installed outside right next to the Eversource meter. The Tesla installers said it would have been very difficult to put anything inside next to the electrical panel. My guess is they probably didn’t want to do the extra work since I was indifferent.

Now that I think about it, I probably should have asked to put more inside because the boxes are on the front corner of my house and is very visible.

Outside:
Eversource Meter
Eversource PV Disconnect
SolarEdge Inverter
SMART Meter


Curious how long people are seeing Eversource come out to swap out meters and granting PTO after town inspection.
 
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solarAddict

Member
Jan 26, 2020
105
44
MA
Curious how long people are seeing Eversource come out to swap out meters and granting PTO after town inspection.

No personal experience (NG customer) but "Up to two months" accordingly few posters here and my installer. Someone even suggested to give them a call in a few weeks, especially if there is a chance of storm.
 

jhn_

Member
Jan 21, 2021
121
101
Northeast United States
NG customer in MA here, installed solar and Powerwalls in December. I was lucky in equipment placement since the grid power enters our house at the seam of where our house is attached to our garage.
So Tesla was able to install the PV inverter and Tesla Gateway along with breakers for the Powerwalls and the batteries themselves in the garage. Literally on the outside of the same wall are only the new production meter, PV emergency disconnect, and PW emergency disconnect. I was told those are the only things that need to be outside per code in MA.
 
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