Main Service Panel

Old 03-31-15, 02:17 PM
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Main Service Panel

I had a question regarding our existing main service panel. Currently the main panel and meter are two separate components (meter over top of panel). We have an older home and someone installed an indoor panel outside. We're interested in getting solar panels installed and the electrician is wanting to replace the panel. Here are my questions.

1. Can a housing be built around an indoor panel to protect it from the weather and therefore keep it within code or does and outdoor panel always have to be used when the service is outside?

2. If a new panel must be installed, does a panel with a meter combined have to be used? The electrician is pushing this as opposed to simply replacing the indoor panel with an outdoor panel.

Old 03-31-15, 03:10 PM
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Any panel that could reasonably be exposed to the elements should be an outdoor-rated panel. Presumably your indoor panel is completely ruined given how much water must have gotten in over the years.

The NEC would not require a meter-main panel in this case, but other authorities might. For example, every power company has a distribution standards document which lays out what is and is not allowed for the service entrance. This may be influencing the electrician's decision. In my opinion it sounds like a very good choice given your description of the current layout. The power company usually has a minimum and maximum height allowed for metering and service equipment, as well as horizontal distances to windows and other such structural elements, and those clearances can be difficult or impossible to meet with a separate meter base and panel depending on the layout of the house.

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