Safety and Inspections For Solar Systems

Late last year Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor announced his concern that a substantial amount of rooftop solar installations across Australia may be unsafe or at risk. This was based from a national audit report that found up to one-quarter of all rooftop solar installations inspected since 2011 posed a “severe or high risk”.

Another report had also found that there had been a number of fires sparked due to faulty installations since 2015 when residential solar started to really boom. In all reported circumstances it was uncovered that solar panels were not the issue and usually the fault was found in incorrectly installed isolators or inverters.

Importance Of Choosing A Clean Energy Council (CEC) Accredited Installer

These founding’s have made selecting the right installer for your solar system even more crucial.

The Clean Energy Council says “It’s important for Australians to ensure the solar installer working on their roof is a CEC accredited professional, which can be proven through a photo ID card that all installers have”. Something Ross Allan wish he had done.

Ross Allan’s Story…
badcablingRoss Allan thought he had got a great deal on his solar at almost 50 percent off until he noticed smoke coming out of one of the isolators one day. Ross admits he was lured in by the competitive price, which stung him later.

“It’s pretty shocking because the house could have caught on fire,” says Ross.

Read Full Article Here

CEC Accreditation 

CEC accreditation means that the installer demonstrates competence in the design and installation of stand-alone and grid-connected solar PV systems. CEC accredited installers are also eligible for Government incentives and rebates, which can assist with the installation costs.

Receive Obligation Free Quotes From CEC Accredited Installers Here

What to Look Out For When Your System Is Being Installed

  • Inverters and isolators aren’t placed where they are exposed to direct sunlight for long durations of time.
  • All parts especially isolators don’t have any electrically exposed entries from the top that could fill or be damaged by rain.
  • All cabling is neat and out of the way, so they don’t catch on anything or are easily exposed.
  • Your inverter is set to detect if something goes wrong.

Book An Inspection Every 5 Years

Like anything problems can arise that aren’t caused by a faulty installation. Without moving parts it’s unlikely a solar systems pieces will wear out, however with a lifespan reaching 25 years + there are some external factors that may contribute to a system becoming unsafe or a risk. Such as;

  • System parts that are easily exposed filling with rain
  • Animals (birds, rats) chewing or damaging cables
  • Damage from natural disasters, such as earthquakes, bushfires and storms
  • Damage from home renovations
  • Cables deteriorating overtime
  • Components failing

Whilst you may have had a top-notch installer, you’ll want to consider having your solar system inspected at least every 5 years to ensure nothing has occurred since the installation that could have changed your system safety status.

For an accredited installer to perform a thorough inspection you’ll be charged around $150-$250 which will include inspection of your inverter, isolator, cables, panels, installation setup and roof mounting. Most solar providers will have inspections as one of their services, but you’ll want to enlist a CEC accredited installer for the inspection to assure a quality check.

Considering installing solar? Let us help and get you in touch with CEC Accredited Installers!

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Download Your FREE Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power!

Beginners Guide to Solar Power

If you’re considering solar for your property or just looking to maximise the savings for your solar system, download a FREE copy of our "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

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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.