Dangers to Avoid when Installing Solar Systems
The latest audit conducted by the Clean Energy Australia Regulator (CER) highlights the growing number of unsafe solar systems that have been installed nationally.
The audit inspected solar systems all over Australia and listed by state the number of solar systems deemed unsafe or do not comply with CEC standards. The state which had the highest rate of unsafe solar systems was Queensland with 252 systems deemed unsafe. According to the report by the CER, one in six homes that were inspected were substandard and one in every thirty had poorly installed solar systems. Not only were these systems poorly installed, but they were also below standards that they were deemed “ticking time bombs”. The CER found that nationally 839 solar systems were under CEC standards (3.4%). Victoria came in third with 181 solar systems deemed unsafe and second was NSW with 184 homes with unsafe or poorly installed solar systems.
Incorrectly assessed roof
With roof solar system installs, there are three common factors the roof must pass prior to installing. The first assessment should be:
- The strength of the roof
One system can have up to 22 panels on the roof alone which is such a weight to bear. The weight of the solar panels including wind pressure and erosion over time can cause major damage to the structure of the property. It is important that the roof is up to a standard where it can withstand the system before installing it.
As seen in most of the solar panel warranties they can last up to 15 years, customers should expect this to be the life span of their solar system. It is important to assess the structure of the roof as age can determine whether the roof can withstand the weight of the solar system. There are some cases where the roof structure is poorly structured and have caused systems to cave the roof in under the system’s weight.
- State of the current roof
The roof must be sturdy enough to withstand the installation of the system but as well as the additional strain that will come throughout the lifespan of the solar system.
Hazardous wiring and DC Isolators
In Australia, due to the sweltering heat, exposed wires are more prone to setting on fire. If the cabling has been done poorly or left exposed to the sun the wire is highly likely to burn.
Issues that relate to DC isolators can come from:
- Poor cabling and installation by the electrician
- Poor quality materials and components used
- Physical damage on the cabling
- Aging of the cables or the Isolator itself
It is important to regularly check the components of a solar system, as panels are not the only main attraction in every solar system.
A solar inverter is one of the most important components of an entire solar system. It is what converts DC power into AC currents which power the inside of your customer’s home. Inverters can have problems and cause failures for various reasons. Inverters are the most expensive part of any solar system; it is important to regularly service and maintain this component.
To save yourself from a headache provide your customers with high-quality inverters that are fit for the Australian climate.
All in all, before going ahead and agreeing to solar system installation, ensure your hired installer does a thorough inspection of the job at hand. Ensure all aspects of the roof’s structure are safe and within CEC standards. Ensure the components being used are new and no wiring is exposed post-installation. Finally, it is important your customer has a quality inverter that can withstand the harsh Australian climate.
Cleanenergyregulator.gov.au. (2019). Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme inspections. [online] Available at: http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/RET/Scheme-participants-and-industry/Agents-and-installers/Small-scale-Renewable-Energy-Scheme-inspections [Accessed 3 Dec. 2019].
Cleanenergyregulator.gov.au. (2019). [online] Available at: http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/DocumentAssets/Documents/Inspections%20Update%20No%2017.pdf [Accessed 3 Dec. 2019].
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