In a radio interview in 2018, Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor raised concern over the safety of solar power installations. This came after an audit by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) found that 21-26% of all rooftop solar systems inspected since 2011 had faulty wiring and unsecured panels.
Since then, improvements in safety have significantly reduced the number of unsafe solar installations. The latest CER inspection report found ‘unsafe’ and ‘potentially unsafe’ solar PV systems dropped from 5.5% of inspections of systems installed in 2015 to 1.7% of inspections of 2018 installations.
While this is encouraging, with thousands of solar installers operating in Australia and millions of solar panels being installed on Australian rooftops each year, variances in safety abound. How can you be sure the solar company you choose installs safe products and follows strict safety protocols?
Start by choosing the right inverter technology
At the heart of a solar PV system is the inverter. There are three types of inverter systems –conventional string, micro-inverters and DC optimised.
If the sun is shining, conventional string systems continue to generate high DC voltage, even when disconnected from the grid. This means that it’s dangerous to touch one of these systems in the event of a fault or fire.
Micro-inverter systems rely on many relays and circuit breakers to keep 240V AC under control on your roof. These can be prone to failure over time.
The Energy Experts instead recommends DC optimiser technology from SolarEdge because its smart inverter technology minimises safety risks for installers and protects your property from fires.
- Faults and electrical arcs are quickly detected, and both the output of your panels and the inverter are shutdown to reduce high voltage DC to touch safe levels. This also prevents a fire from occurring in the event of a short circuit or in an emergency.
- When AC power is shut off, DC optimised technology allows installers, maintenance workers and firefighters to work safely without the risk of electrocution from high DC voltages
- Online panel-level monitoring alerts both you and us when performance loss or anomalies occur, allowing us to troubleshoot issues remotely without having to get up on your roof. Early detection means repairs can be conducted before the problem escalates. It also saves you on costly call-out fees.
Find a CEC-approved solar installer
The equipment you choose is certainly very important when it comes to ensuring you have a safe solar power system, but safety also comes down to how a system is installed and the care taken to do things properly, rather than rushing to move on to the next job.
Cutting corners can have disastrous results. Poor safety procedures can result in technicians being injured or killed, and errors in installation can compromise the integrity and performance of a system.
When selecting an installer, it’s recommended you choose not only a Clean Energy Council Approved Installer, but also a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer. The CEC sets the bar for renewable energy in Australia. So, when you choose a CEC-Approved Solar Retailer, you can rest easy knowing they follow a strict code of conduct that ensures that work is performed at the highest possible standard.
If you’re going to install solar, there’s no need to compromise on safety. The Energy Experts are CEC-Approved Installers and Retailers and install solar power systems that have been independently test to be the highest quality and the safest on the market. The vast majority of systems installed use SolarEdge DC optimised inverter technology.