TUESDAY 02 JUNE, 2009 |
New Australian Solar Panel Standards Catch Out Unwary
All solar power systems, including those pre-approved under various government rebate schemes must
now comply with revised Australian Standards on the day of installation.
The standard AS/NZS5033 is clear that from 1st June 2009 all solar panel arrays must comply with the amended Standard. That is, modules in systems operating at voltages above 50V must comply with safety standard IEC61730 and be classified as Class A modules as well as complying with either IEC61215 or IEC61646, depending on the module technology.
Solar power systems can be potentially very dangerous if sub-standard modules and/or sub-standard systems are installed.
Unfortunately, many panels not meeting this standard were dumped on the
Australian market recently and consumers should check to see that any system they are considering buying meets the new standards.
Dozens of brands and models of solar panels no longer meet the revised
compliance requirements. The old list of approved modules was 50 pages long, but
the new list of approved solar
is only 34 pages.
According to industry sources, some "bargain basement" providers who didn't
foresee the IEC61730 standard being enforced on systems and were previously granted pre-approval
for rebates on home
installations are now having to explain to their customers why
their rebate will not be able to be processed.
With the $8,000
government solar rebate
in its final weeks (to be replaced by the Solar
), the rush is on for consumers to secure a heavily subsidised
system and for providers to scoop up increased business. This has seen fierce
competition among providers, but the scenario has also unfortunately seen
increasing levels of consumers fall victim to questionable advertising and sales
Australian solar power company Energy Matters recently updated its Consumer
Guide to Solar Power
to reflect the evolving tricks and traps; in the hope
of arming potential solar buyers with information on these practices and to help
create a more level playing field in Australia's solar industry - an industry
where a few rogue operators threaten to tarnish the sector's overall good
reputation for ethics and quality.
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