CEC Guideline Changes To Number Of Solar Installations Permitted Per Day To Support Quality In The Industry

Installing Solar Panels on Roof The quality of solar installations has continued to be in the limelight after ABC’s 7:30 Report on “The dark side of Australia’s rooftop solar energy obsession” back in May, which had many people questioning the safety and quality standards of the solar industry in Australia.

The report focused on low quality installations that had posed a risk to the safety of households with 1 in 30 solar systems found to be unsafe in the report from the Australian National Audit Office-inspection program.

Whilst the providers and installations used for data in the report don’t reflect the entire industry, the report itself has had some-what of a positive effect making those in charge of standards within the industry, such as the Clean Energy Council and Clean Energy Regulator, to have a look at what regulations can be put in place to minimise bad quality installations in the future.

CEC Install & Supervise Guideline Changes For Accredited Installers

Clean Energy Industry in Australia

Recently the Clean Energy Council (CEC) has released their latest guideline changes in the “Grid-Connected Solar PV Systems: Install and Supervise Guidelines for Accredited Installers – Version 13” which will come into action on July 1st. In line with trying to minimise bad quality installations the CEC has added restrictions on to the amount of installations an accredited installer can perform or sign off on in a day.

Limits that apply to the number of installations an Accredited Person shall sign off per day;

  • Where an Accredited Person is installing or supervising complete installations only, they shall not sign off on more than two (2) installations per day.
  • Where an Accredited Person is installing or supervising complete installations and upgrades/repairs in the same day, they shall not sign off more than one (1) complete installations and more than three (3) upgrades on the same day.
  • Where an accredited person is installing or supervising upgrades and/or repairs to existing systems involving the installation or replacement of modules only, the installer or supervisor shall not sign off on more than four (4) system upgrades/repairs per day.

Some exemptions do apply but require a formal exemption clause.

Solar Panels Installation Guide

Reasoning Behind CEC Guideline Changes

The reasoning behind why these changes have been put in place is to prevent installers taking on too many installations in one given day and rushing through them instead ensuring they meet high quality standards before being signed off.

The CEC has stated that data from previous audit regimes identified there was a direct correlation between systems deemed to require rectification (sub-standard installation) and the number of systems signed off in one day.

Choosing A Reliable Installer

Choosing an installer is just as important as choosing the system you want to install. Even with the new Guideline changes coming into action in July, it’s important to do your background research on solar suppliers and installers. We recommend shopping around and looking online at reviews from previous customers as well as ensuring an installer is CEC accredited. Read our “Choosing The Right Installer” tips.

Be put in touch with CEC accredited installers so you can start comparing your options!

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.