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Solar safety measures working to protect installers and consumers

The Clean Energy Council welcomes the Clean Energy Regulator’s (CER) analysis of Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme inspection data to assess the safety risks associated with solar PV.

Among the findings of the report is a significant decline in the number of unsafe and potentially unsafe PV systems, with just 1.7 per cent of all systems inspected in 2018 being classified as unsafe (0.7 per cent) or potentially unsafe (1 per cent). These results are a vast improvement on figures from 2015 when 5.5 per cent of inspections received adverse findings (0.7 per cent unsafe and 4.8 per cent potentially unsafe). The report also found that other safety risks are at levels similar to general electrical work.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton said that this was evidence that improvements to safety measures to protect both installers and consumers were working.

“More than one in five Australian households have solar on their roofs, and what this report tells us is that the vast majority of these systems are installed safely and in line with the industry guidelines set out by the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Accreditation program.

“While these results are trending in the right direction, there is still work to be done. The report highlights the need for regular solar power system maintenance, and the need to raise consumer awareness about the need for an annual maintenance schedule, just like servicing your car.

“The report also recommends that the industry consider the technical requirement for rooftop DC isolators to be installed. This is an issue that we have been closely involved with for many years, working with Standards Australia and the state electrical safety bodies to mitigate the potential risk they pose.”

Mr Thornton said there are two ways people can ensure their solar is being installed correctly, by choosing an Approved Solar Retailer and by making sure the installer who completes the work is accredited by the Clean Energy Council. All accredited installers have a date stamped digital ID card that they can show you on their phone.

“The small-scale solar and storage industry has done a good job of earning the trust of Australians. Now we need to maintain this trust by continuously improving our safety levels. By enabling Australians to make the switch to rooftop solar with peace of mind, they can reduce their energy costs while combatting climate change and accelerating our transition to a clean energy future.”