100% Solar and Battery installation inspections

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My name is John Inglis, proprietor of Positronic Solar in Brisbane.

During January I held training seminars in Brisbane, Tweed, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth attended by a number of solar installers.

After the completion of training we discussed issues confronting our industry in 2019.

Installation of solar panels usually includes running up to 1000 volts DC circuits, capable of creating unquenchable arcs. Batteries store large amounts of energy in chemical form which can be rapidly released (ie explode) in fault conditions.

Unlicensed sales companies are selling these systems and use poorly trained, skilled and paid workers install them. Very few of these systems are inspected. We already see large numbers of fires caused by poorly installed and designed solar systems. There is no reason to think battery failures will be any less prevalent. Unfortunately battery failures will involve explosions and toxic chemical fires.

None of us are happy with the standard of installations.

These issues won't be addressed by voluntary codes of conduct.

We don’t believe we need more regulation and guidelines, only that the existing regulations are enforced. 

In most States, there is no or very little inspection of electrical work.

Around 1% of solar installations are inspected by the Clean Energy Regulator. These inspections have revealed a high level of non-compliance with regulations and guidelines.

Tasmania has Techsafe subcontracting to the Department of Justice to carry out 100% inspections. Feedback from Tasmania is that their model has been successful in raising the standard of installations and ‘cleaning out the shonks’.

We would prefer inspections to be carried out by inspectors directly employed by the Electrical Safety Office in each state.

We recognise that this could be a costly exercise and agree that a $250 fee per inspection is reasonable.

In the interest of safety and the reputation of the renewable industry we ask that you work with COAG for 100% inspection of all solar and battery installations.