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Frequently asked questions 

Solar panel safety 

Some frequently asked questions and answers about solar panel safety are listed below.

How do I check if my solar panels are properly installed? 

Home owners should not try to check on the installation panels themselves.

Home owners also should not simply 'turn off' their panel systems. Solar panel systems need to be shut down according to a specific shut down procedure. Turning off the panels in the wrong way can contribute to problems – not prevent them.

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Is there a check list prepared? 

You can download a check list with simple tips for consumers on how to ensure solar panels are safe. View or download the Solar panels consumer checklist in PDF format (size: 27kb).

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What can I check? 

This first thing to do is to check the paperwork you received – or should have received - when the panels were installed. You should have a Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Work (CCEW).

After completion of solar panel installation work, a licensed electrician must check that your system is safe and if so, provide you with a CCEW. The electrician should have completed the certificate and given you a copy – before they left your property. They are also required to provide a copy to the energy authority.

This is your assurance that a licensed contractor has completed and tested the work to ensure it is effective and compliant with Australian wiring rules for electrical installation work.

Also ensure that you receive adequate documentation on how to use your system. It should include a list of all equipment supplied, a shutdown and isolation procedure in case of emergency or maintenance, system connection diagrams and handbooks for all of the equipment installed in the system.

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What if I am worried there may be a problem with my solar panels or I want to get advice? 

If you have any questions about the safety of your solar PV system, contact the company which sold you the system.

They should confirm that the installation received a Certificate of Compliance signed by a licensed electrician, that your installer was licensed, qualified and accredited and that the installer’s training was up to date with recent changes to standards.

Where the company cannot satisfy you that your system is safe, you should ask them to come and inspect it.

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Where do I get the Certificate of Compliance from? 

You should have a copy of the certificate. Certificates of compliance are required to be provided to the householder and to the network operator. If you don't have a copy you should ask your installer or electrician to give you a copy.

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What if I don't have any paperwork? 

If you have not received a Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Work you should contact the builder or electrician that installed your panels to get a copy.

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I am still worried there may be a problem with my solar panels. What can I do? 

If you are not satisfied with the response from the company that installed your solar panels, or you want an independent inspection of your system, you can go to the Clean Energy Council website at www.solaraccreditation.com.au where you can access a list of accredited solar-trained electricians that can check your system for a fee.

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How do I know if my contractor was licensed? 

You can check if the contractor is licensed online or by calling Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

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I have had no problems with my panels to date. Should I still be concerned? 

Based on advice provided to Fair Trading, panels can operate for years without problems.

However you may not know there is a problem with the DC breaker until a chain of events occurs that puts the system under stress. 

If you have any concerns Fair Trading suggests you follow the steps above – talk to the company that organised to have your panels installed, or to the builder or electrician that did the work.

Refer to What can I check?

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