Solar Safety in the Industry
As the Clean Energy Council points out: safety and quality are of vital essence when installing your solar system. Feel free to contact us to have a chat about installing a new system, or for your exisiting solar system, is it time for a solar health check to make sure your system is safe and performing optimally?
See the Clean Energy Council Newsletter below with more information about solar safety.
Last night 27th May 2019 ABC’s 7.30 Report highlighted some potential safety issues in the rooftop solar industry, but disappointingly didn’t give an entirely balanced perspective. Sadly, when stories like this come out our whole industry is tarred by the incorrect perception of poor safety and quality of rooftop solar – which we all know is generally not the case. There are over 2 million solar systems installed in Australia, and the vast majority are safe and reliable systems, while the percentage of potentially unsafe systems has continued to decline from over 4% in 2010 to 2.7% today.
In terms of safety, we would like to specifically address some points made in the program:
Firstly, there is more work to be done in driving up safety, standards and compliance across the industry and the Clean Energy Council is committed to leading on that front, working closely with the range of regulatory and safety bodies across Australia. This is an area we spend a considerable amount of time and resources enforcing and this will only increase as the industry grows.
In 2018 alone, the Clean Energy Council suspended 160 installers and locked 5500 models of solar panel out of the Australian market that were not up to the latest product standards. Our Product Assurance Program requires products to be certified to Australian Standards through accredited, independent testing laboratories to demonstrate they are of sufficient quality.
Our Product Assurance Program includes battery storage products. The ABC were incorrect regarding battery safety. There is already an agreed industry standard for batteries in place and it has been in place since 2018. Currently there are over 60 battery storage products verified to be meeting this standard and we will continue to drive up the standards of storage product offerings this way.
DC isolator switches: these switches are currently mandated through the Australian Standards by request from the emergency services. As mentioned in the report, we have been calling for a review of the Australian Standards mandating them for some time and will continue to do so - hopefully this will commence soon.
Issues with regulation of replacement solar panels: the STC regulations regarding replacement panels were recently tightened to address these concerns due to a relatively small number of these incidents occurring. This is not a widespread problem, and we believe the recent changes have addressed any issue.
As noted in the program, state electrical safety bodies are reviewing their inspection programs. We absolutely support this, including higher levels of inspections where appropriate.
Finally, these issues associated with rooftop solar would be picked up by regular maintenance and it serves as a reminder to us as an industry that safety and maintenance needs to be a key message we send to consumers. Unfortunately, the ABC didn’t include Kane’s comments regarding this, but the Clean Energy Council will shortly be ramping up our push to remind householders of the importance of periodic maintenance by an accredited installer.
Protecting consumers is of the highest priority, which is why there are so many regulatory requirements placed on the Australian solar industry and why we are continuing to set higher safety standards and increased compliance. There is obviously more work to be done regarding safety, but we should also be very proud of what we have achieved and the continuous improvement underway.
Source: CEC newsletter - May 2019