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We are working closely with regulators, retailers and installers to create a safer solar industry through rigorous safety and quality standards and our audits program.

Solar retailers and installers can learn about our commitment to safety and quality through our audits program below.

Solar Victoria's audits are making sure solar installations in the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs are safe. Audits drive continuous improvement in the solar industry and make sure installation problems are dealt with promptly.

Solar retailers or installers who are found to be doing the wrong thing, resulting in non-compliant and unsafe installations, may be excluded from our programs.

Purpose of the audit program

The purpose of the audit program is to identify areas across the solar industry that need improvement and to ensure the safety and quality of systems and installations.

Auditors will look at the quality of the work and whether there are issues that need to be followed up with the solar retailer.

Audits provide a valuable picture of the standard of work being delivered under the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs, with feedback provided to the solar industry for further action or improvement.

Steps in the audit process

The audit process involves the following steps.

Step one: Selecting sites to audit

At this step Solar Victoria selects the audit sites, aiming to inspect a sample of five percent of all Solar Homes and Solar for Business installations. This may happen three to six months after installation. We sometimes also conduct audits more rapidly. This can happen as soon as a few weeks after installation.

We are committed to auditing a range of installations across the state. In selecting an audit site, we may consider a retailer’s performance, industry experience, compliance history and system price.

Step two: Conducting the audit

At this step an independent auditor inspects solar PV, solar battery and solar hot water installations. Solar Victoria has engaged TechSafe AustraliaExternal Link as the independent auditor for the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs.

If selected, a representative from TechSafe contacts the homeowner or business owner to arrange a suitable time for the inspection.

Auditors for the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs look at a range of matters including:

  • Electrical safety: Check of conduit placement, ingress protection, fuses, location and quality of DC isolators.
  • Equipment: Ensure PV modules and inverters are on approved products lists and are installed to ensure manufacturer's warranties are intact.
  • System design and functionality: Making sure solar systems have been designed appropriately, for example, with correct sizing, aspect and shading tolerances, and are operating as expected.
  • Documentation and credentials: Check of installers' accreditations and licences and required installation documentation sighted.

They use checklists developed in collaboration with external stakeholders and Solar Victoria to ensure the quality and safety of the systems for the audits.

These documents include all questions auditors base their inspection of solar PV and solar battery installations on, using the current audit checklists. The bolded PV audit checklist items in shaded rows are new. They align with the revised Standards Australia AS/NZS 5033:2021, Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays.

Step three: Reporting on the draft audit findings

At this step the independent auditor documents preliminary or draft audit findings and seeks feedback from the retailer and installer (within 14 days). The homeowner will also be informed and advised of any next steps if required by the solar retailer (or appointed installer).

Step four: Reporting on the final audit findings

At this step the independent auditor confirms audit findings and sends the final report to Solar Victoria. We will then send the final report to the retailer and installer for the audited installation.

If improvements are identified or the installation is found to be adequate, the retailer and installer do not need to take any further steps. These findings mean the system is compliant and has been installed satisfactorily. We do, however, encourage retailers and installers to action the information and guidance provided where improvements have been identified.

Step five: Rectifications needed

At this step Solar Victoria sends a rectification notice to the retailer via the Solar Victoria portal. Rectifications are needed if the auditor rates the installation as “unsafe” or “needs rectification.” This notice provides 30 days for the retailer to rectify identified issues.

The retailer will be given information about:

  • how the installation does not comply with safety and quality standards
  • what is required to resolve this non-compliance
  • the matter being referred to Energy Safe Victoria and the Clean Energy Council to determine if further action is needed.

The retailer must contact the customer within seven days to arrange a time to complete any rectification works.

We will then review the provided evidence and change the job status to rectification complete.

Step six: Rectifications completed

At this step the retailer advises Solar Victoria that all rectification work is complete (within 30 days) and uploads evidence of satisfactory rectification works to the Solar Victoria portal.

We will then review the provided evidence and change the job status to rectification complete.

If we have any follow-up questions, we will change the status of the audit to “Additional information required” and will contact the retailer.

Step seven: Performance reporting

At this step Solar Victoria aggregates audit data and advises the retailer of their performance and any actions they will need to take to improve future performance.

If audit findings are unacceptable, Solar Victoria can make decisions about whether individuals or companies may continue to take part in the Solar Homes or Solar for Business programs.

Audit committee

Some issues will be considered by an audit safety committee. The committee includes members from Solar Victoria, WorkSafe Victoria, Energy Safe Victoria, the Victorian Building Authority, Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Clean Energy Council.

This group will consider any action already taken by individual agencies and determine whether the matter needs to be referred to the Clean Energy Council or Solar Victoria for further action.

Others notified of unsafe installations

If a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation is found to be unsafe, or has major non-compliance issues that require rectification, we will informEnergy Safe VictoriaExternal Link , the Clean Energy RegulatorExternal Link and the Clean Energy CouncilExternal Link .

If non-compliance issues are found with solar hot water installations, we will notify the Victorian Building AuthorityExternal Link regarding enforcement and rectification.

Other checks on solar installations

In addition to the Solar Homes and Solar for Business audits, other safety checks include:

  • Electrical inspection - every system is required to be checked by a licensed electrical inspector and a Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES)External Link issued prior to the system being connected to the distribution network.
  • Safety visits - as part of the solar rebates process, we have asked householders to register for safety visits by WorkSafe VictoriaExternal Link during installation. These safety visits will focus on worker safety during installation, such as working at heights.
  • Clean Energy Regulator audits - as part of a national program of inspections, the Clean Energy RegulatorExternal Link also performs selected audits 12 to 18 months after installation.

How to provide feedback on audits

We welcome your feedback. Solar industry retailers and installers whose installations have undergone an audit should first provide feedback or raise any concerns with the auditor through TechSafe Australia at solarhomes@techsafe.com.au.

Please email Solar Victoria at quality.assurance@team.solar.vic.gov.au if:

  • your concerns can't be resolved with the auditor
  • you would like to escalate this to our panel of technical experts to consider your feedback on an audit item.

Reviewed 25 May 2022

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