Five per cent of all solar PV systems installed under the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs are audited every year as part of our commitment to safety and quality and ensuring installations comply with the latest standards (see ).
Download the audit checklist
Independent auditors use these checklists when they conduct audit inspections of solar PV installations:
They look at the safety and quality of solar installations and determine where opportunities for improvement need to be followed up with the solar retailer.
Analysis of these audits identified the following tips to improve solar PV systems installed under our programs.
Tip 1: Correctly match d.c. connectors
In first instance, make sure only the same type/model from the same manufacturer are mated together for d.c. connectors. Other conditions apply.
Refer to the ESV Guide – Identifying mismatched d.c. connectors in PV installations on the . A mismatched d.c. connector failing could cause major damage and create a safety risk for occupants due to fire or smoke inhalation.
Australian Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021 Clause 22.214.171.124
Tip 2: Prevent water damage and water ingress in the ground and roof d.c isolator
Make sure all d.c. isolator enclosure(s) at the array and at the inverter are correctly installed to prevent water ingress, including appropriate IP rated cable glands and multi-hole sealing grommets to suit the number of installed cables, and if possible, use external fixing points. Where isolators are mounted outdoors, cables and conduits shall not enter the top entry face of the enclosure. Note: The product manufacturer's Ingress Protection (IP) rating must be maintained for all a.c. and d.c. electrical enclosures.
Australian Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021 Clause 126.96.36.199.3 and AS/NZS 5033:2021 clause 188.8.131.52
Tip 3: Correctly affix the inverter
Ensure inverters (PCEs) are installed in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Pay attention to minimum fixing sizes, number of fixings, and locking devices; and ensuring that the wall is structurally sound for supporting the inverter and that the location is otherwise acceptable.
Australian Standards reference: AS/NZS 3000:2018 Clause 1.7.1 (c) 4.1.2
Tip 4: Enclose d.c. cables in heavy duty conduit and adequately support
Ensure all d.c. cables within the ceiling, wall or floor cavity are fully enclosed in heavy duty conduit or equivalent. Joints in conduits and fittings must be glued to ensure fittings do not come apart exposing the d.c. cabling. Ensure all wiring and conduit work is adequately supported by clips or saddles at regular intervals.
Australian Standards reference: AS/NZS 5033:2021
Hear from a solar expert
Presenter Geoff Bragg has worked in the industry since 2002. He provides some tips in these modules to help increase safety and quality for workers and customers.
The links under each module will take you to vimeo files. They were recorded 11–12 September 2020 and include answers to questions asked by retailers and installers who attended the webinars.
This module covers:
- earthing continuity through rail joins, earthing continuity across all rails, and zinc spray on earth bond
- no glands at enclosure and exit of conduit, glue missing on conduits, top entry on DCI at inverters installed outdoors, isolator shrouds, PIPs on DCI, and DCI not being readily available.
This module covers:
- clamp zones on PV panels – manufacturer’s instructions and the different Pascal ratings, and clearance from the edge of the roof
- inverter clearances and best locations, segregation of communications cables, use of RCD on AC connections, and string fusing
- incorrect fire signage on voltages (voc) and currents (isc), updating signage after system expansion, and multiple inverters and isolators identified.
This module covers:
- missing clamps, inadequate or no clearance for leaf litter, galvanic isolation, loose gland nuts, and PV panels not being installed
- AS/NZS 3000:2018 mandatory testing, grid code being set with an inverter, string checks, voltage rise checks, internet connection for earth fault alarms, CT placement and orientation, and export limiting issues.
Reviewed 25 January 2023