Our audit program is helping to ensure that all solar PV systems installed as part of Solar Homes are safe. Auditing helps us to hold solar retailers and installers to account, coordinate with government regulatory authorities and the , and develop a deeper understanding of how the program is being delivered by the fast-growing solar industry.
We have engaged independent auditors to assess the safety and quality of solar installations as part of our rebates process. We also require every system to be checked by a licensed inspector and the issuing of a (CES) prior to connection of the solar system to the distribution network.
Under Victoria’s workplace health and safety, electrical safety and consumer protection laws it’s the role of the solar retailers and installers to ensure systems are safely installed, and to rectify any issues identified.
If a PV installation is found to be unsafe, or has major non-compliance issues requiring rectification, we will inform and the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), as well as the . Similarly, for solar hot water installations, if non-compliances are found the (VBA) will be notified regarding enforcement and rectification. As a result of the auditing process, products, and/or installers may be removed from the .
Where companies are found to be doing the wrong thing we will considering excluding them from the Solar Homes program.
What does the audit program look at?
Our auditors are looking at a range of matters including:
- Electrical safety
- Ensuring PV modules and inverters are on approved products lists and installed to ensure manufacturers’ warranties are intact
- Ensuring solar PV systems have been designed appropriately with correct sizing, aspect and shading tolerances, and that they are operating as expected
- Checking that installers’ accreditations, licences and required installation documentation are correct
- Speaking to customers about the professionalism and conduct of solar retailers and installers, as well as their broader customer experience
What does the audit program look like?
Our audits are risk-based, which means that we focus our audits on areas where we believe there may be emerging challenges or complaints, to get a hand of any issues. This will drive improvement in the solar sector and will stamp out issues before they emerge. Approximately 70 per cent of audits will be in Melbourne and 30 per cent in regional areas.
As part of the rebates process, we have asked householders to register for safety visits by during installation. The also performs selected post-installation audits 12 to 18 months after installation.
Households in both Melbourne and regional Victoria will be contacted by auditors to arrange a suitable time and date for the audit. Auditors will require access to your roof and bring their own equipment to perform the audit.
What happens after the audit?
The report will confirm if safety and quality standards for the installation have been met. If these standards have not been met, the solar retailer who sold the solar system and the installer who installed it will be contacted.
Retailers will be:
- advised about how the installation does not comply with safety and quality standards
- given detailed instructions as to what is required to resolve this noncompliance
- advised that the matter has been referred to Energy Safe Victoria and the Clean Energy Council, which will determine whether further action is needed
The installation will continue to be monitored until the issue has been satisfactorily remedied.
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Important requirements for DC isolators in Victoria
In July 2018, Energy Safe Victoria advised that Amendment 4 of AS/NZS 4417.2 introduced nine additions to the prescribed electrical equipment categories, including for DC isolators.
Appendix B of AS/NZS 4417.2 outlines the additions which took effect on 30 June 2018.
As there were only a limited number of DC isolators approved, and section 57 of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (the Act) does not provide ESV with an exemption power. To date, ESV has taken an educational approach to the supply of unapproved DC isolators into the Victorian market provided installers made every effort to source and install approved DC isolators, and that suppliers of DC isolators were in a genuine process of obtaining approval of their product.
There are currently 14 certificates for DC isolators listed on the ERAC website, which cover eight brands and over 30 models.
ESV expects that installers will now only use approved DC isolators in domestic solar installations. Installers can search the list on the ERAC website.
It is an offence under section 57 of the Act to supply Level 3 or prescribed electrical equipment that has not been approved by ESV, another electrical safety state regulator or JAS-ANZ accredited third party certifier.
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Reviewed 27 June 2019