Safety Key to Solar Victoria’s Audit Program

23/08/19 6.29am
Solar Victoria Audit

The Solar Victoria audit program is designed to promote safety and quality within the solar industry. The program is a risk-based auditing regime with information sharing agreements with relevant regulators and industry bodies. It targets Solar PV installations based on several risk factors, including feedback from customers, or where a large number of installations could potentially suggest that shortcuts may have been taken.

Nearly 600 installations have been audited so far with many more to be delivered in the next few months. There is no room for poor-quality installations.   

The post-installation inspections are being carried out by independent safety auditors commissioned by Solar Victoria.

A number of installations have already been identified as unsafe and were immediately de-energised to render them safe, with the installer and householder notified. We have also referred these matters to Energy Safe Victoria and the Clean Energy Council.

All systems are required to be rectified and Energy Safe is currently assessing what compliance action needs to be taken in each case. Action will be determined by these bodies and may lead to installers being excluded from participation in the Solar Homes program.

In cases where an auditor considers an installation to be unsafe, they will first contact the installer to discuss the issue before confirming the final audit findings. 

The message to retailers and installers is not to risk your businesses by cutting corners. The audit program is designed to ensure that systems are safely installed to Australian Standards and Victoria’s electrical safety regulations, as well as Clean Energy Council Best Practice Guidelines.

Safety failings can have serious human and commercial consequences for installers who take shortcuts with safety. If you get it right first time, there will be no need for further action.

Solar Victoria, in delivering its audit program, is working in partnership with Energy Safe Victoria, the Clean Energy Council, Consumer Affairs Victoria, the Victorian Building Authority and WorkSafe Victoria.

Solar Victoria is coordinating joint safety inspections between regulators to identify unsafe practices at the time of system installations. A recent joint safety inspection identified a matter involving unsupervised workers, working at height without adequate fall protection in place. Worksafe has undertaken 80 site visits and issued 53 compliance notices (including improvement and prohibition notices).

The most common serious findings in the audits include poor fitting of DCI isolators, issues regarding wiring connection and security and inadequate earthing of solar arrays. Solar Victoria is planning to run education sessions in coming weeks to discuss these issues and promote improvements in practices.

Reviewed 23 August 2019

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