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Solar worker installing solar battery

Installers can meet the high standards we have set, avoid common errors and the need for rectifications by using the audit checklists and tips.

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 Audits).

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 Energy Safe Victoria websiteExternal Link . 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 4.3.9.1

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 4.4.7.2.3 and AS/NZS 5033:2021 clause 4.4.7.3

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

More information

For more information, or if you have any questions about audits in the Solar Homes and Solar for Business programs, see Audits or email us at quality.assurance@team.solar.vic.gov.au.

Hear from a solar expert

Many of these opportunities for improving safety and quality are covered in training modules brought to you by the Smart Energy CouncilExternal Link and Solar Victoria.

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.

  • Module 1: The array (1:22:50)External Link

    This module covers:

    • DC connector mismatch, unsecured array cables, nylon cable ties as the primary method of support, unsecured conduit in roof cavities, appropriate roof penetrations, and appropriate tile grinding over tile brackets.
  • Module 2: Earthing and water ingress (1:24:21)External Link

    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.
  • Module 3: Panel mounting, inverter and signage (1:20:41)External Link

    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.
  • Module 4: Miscellaneous errors and functionality (1:23:01)External Link

    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