Home solar installations fail inspection

An inspection program ordered by EnergySafety of home solar installations in Western Australia has uncovered potentially unsafe systems.

In the EnergySafety audit of 260 grid-connected systems, Western Power and Horizon Power inspectors found that 12 per cent had incorrect wiring that could pose a hazard.

EnergySafety’s director Ken Bowron said the defects were subject to orders to make them safe. A second inspection was carried out to ensure the systems had been fixed and complied with strict safety standards.

“The work orders ensure that those homes were made safe. It is vital that the rapidly expanding solar industry lift its performance and maintain the highest safety standards now and into the future to protect owners and their property,” he said.

The audit also found that 11 per cent of installations had defects that may pose a future safety risk if not rectified and 27 per cent did not comply with labelling requirements.

“Householders and businesses must have confidence that their solar equipment meets stringent safety standards. These inspections will be stepped up and continued to ensure compliance with the law,” Mr Bowron said.

“Only licensed electrical contactors may perform the solar installations and householders should receive an Electrical Safety Certificate stating that their system is completely safe. Installers must also notify the relevant network operator when a new installation is completed.”

The WA branch of the National Electricity and Communications Association said the findings were hugely concerning and called for an overhaul of the laws governing solar installers, the West Australian reported.

The association’s WA general manager Kyle Kutasi said current regulations were ad hoc or missing entirely.

The Sustainability Energy Association of Australia (SEAA) said the report was alarmist and unhelpful in determining how serious or otherwise the issue is.

“Is the issue urgent, and how soon a consumer might need to respond? What does this mean to someone at home?” the SEAA stated.