Rooftop solar industry veterans say Australia has become a dumping ground for poor-quality solar products. Some are questioning the regulatory oversight of household rooftop solar installers and products.
An audit of the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) done by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in last year. They found it is likely there are potentially tens of thousands of badly installed and even unsafe systems on rooftops.
Not only are these systems risky, it is likely they are not producing the clean energy that Australia’s renewable energy target relies on.
About one in five Australian homes has installed rooftop solar.
The ANAO found that the regulator has inspected 1.2 per cent of rooftop solar installations.
The regulator’s inspections found that about one in six solar installations was “substandard”, and about one in 30 was “unsafe”.
Based on the sample, the audit found there would be hundreds of thousands of substandard installations and tens of thousands of unsafe solar systems across the country.
- An audit found that the Clean Energy Regulator has inspected that 1.2 per cent of rooftop solar installations.
- The regulator’s inspections found one in six solar installations were “substandard”, and about one in 30 were “unsafe”
- Based on the sample, the audit found there would be tens of thousands of “unsafe” installations.
Some of the problems emerging in rooftop solar are the result of a massive growth in demand, fuelled by government subsidies.
But there is a chance Australia could repeat some of the same mistakes with the next boom in home energy — household batteries.
The National Audit Office found some of the risks of batteries include electric shock, gas explosion, fire, and chemical exposure.
About 60,000 home batteries have already been installed, but there is still no agreed Australian Standard setting out the minimum safety requirements for their installation.
An updated Australian Standard is expected to be released in August this year.
The CEC has accredited about 950 installers to work with home batteries and Mr Thornton said home batteries are fundamentally very safe.
“We need to remember that these types of batteries have been used in cars for many years. They’re also not dissimilar to the batteries that are in many people’s homes in the form of cordless power tools,” he said.