Industry update: Solar panel (PV) installation tips - arrays

Installers can follow these tips to increase compliance with solar arrays.

Thursday, 27 April 2023 at 3:24 am

Installers: Some opportunities for improvement have been detected through independent audits of solar panel (PV) installations in the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs.

One opportunity for improvement relates to the array not being adequately installed.

Your installation may be selected for a safety and quality audit and must comply with all aspects of the standards. This includes complying with the updated AS/NZS 5033:2021 Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays, published on 19 November 2021.

The updated requirements became mandatory on 20 May 2022 and are reflected in our Solar PV Audit Checklist (version 3.1). Please refer to this audit checklist in your review of the following installation tips.

Array installation tips

Checklist reference: Roof 1

Checklist question: Is the PV array securely installed to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, and does not present a hazard to person or property? For example, are the following in compliance with the manufacturer’s engineering certification and AS/NZS 1170.2:

  • foot spacing
  • fixing type
  • clamping zones
  • end and mid clamps.

Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021 Clause, AS/NZS 1170.2:2021.

Common errors relating to these clauses are:

  • Incorrect number of fixing screws for tile, and tin feet that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions are not being adhered to regarding clamping zones of panels.
  • End clamps are not being correctly sized according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • End clamps are not being installed at ends of arrays.

Checklist reference: Roof 3

Checklist question: Are the array structure’s roof penetrations suitably sealed and waterproofed for the expected life of the system, or if this is not possible, is it detailed in the system’s maintenance timetable?

Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021 clause and

A recurring installation mistake can occur when tiles have not been ground after the installation of tile feet to ensure the tiles sit flush.

Checklist reference: PVA 23

Checklist question: Does the designed array fit on the available roof area and meet all exclusion zones, for example, solar panels are not positioned over roof edges or gutters?

Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021 Clause, AS/NZS 1170.2:2021 Appendix B6. 

Often it is found that the exclusion zones outlined in AS/NZS 1170.2:2021 Appendix B6 are not being adhered to where site-specific engineering has also not been conducted.

Technical mentoring and support

We may recommend installers whose installations have been found to be non-compliant take part in our technical mentoring and support initiative.

This initiative is a terrific opportunity aimed at helping increase compliance with all standards. Free on-site technical mentoring is provided by experts within the industry while you are installing solar panel (PV) and battery systems. Access to support for 30 days by phone or email is available after.

See Audits and Technical mentoring and support.

More information

For guidance on how to comply with the relevant standards, please refer to:

For more information, guidance and tips, see Audits, safety and quality.