CEC Urges Solar Panel Fire Rating Compliance

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has reminded solar companies that the solar panels they install must have new fire safety certification soon – and thousands of models are still yet to do so.

Under changes to Australian Standard AS/NZS 5033 for solar PV arrays, Fire Test MST-23 must be performed under IEC 61730-2 testing and certification issued if the module is to be used for building-mounted applications after July 16 this year. The module must meet Fire Safety Class C.

“As this change affects more than 50 per cent of the 20,000 modules on the approved modules list, it is very important that you take timely action to ensure your modules are compliant before 16 July,” says the CEC.

The CEC’s current approved modules list shows thousands of solar panel models still “not yet fire tested” and with testing, re-certification and Australian approval taking a significant amount of time, it is urging companies not to leave the issue “to the last minute”.

The fire testing process, which involves a Spread of Flame Test and a Burning Brand Test, must be performed by a test laboratory approved to test PV modules to the required standard under the IECEE CB scheme (CBTL).

The testing demonstrates how a solar panels fares in an external fire scenario, such as bushfire conditions.

While the deadline is still a few months off, consumers shopping for solar power can use the fire safety rating as an additional tool on their checklists for gauging the quality of  a solar panel system package on offer.

According to national solar provider Energy Matters, the solar panels the company uses in the vast majority of its installations – REC, Daqo, Panasonic, Solar Frontier and Sumec Phono – have already been certified.

Image Credit: TÜV Rheinland