Solar Panel Installation Quality In The Spotlight

Foreground Image: BigStock

While many solar cowboys have been cleared out of the industry; installation quality issues are still a concern.

According to an article on BrisbaneTimes, a recent audit of 7000 solar power systems found 19 per cent were ‘substandard’ and required remedial work. Four per cent were deemed to be ‘unsafe and shut down.

The figures reportedly emerged during a budget estimates hearing in Canberra on Monday.

During the solar gold rush, shonky operators looking to make a quick buck arrived on the solar scene in droves. While many are no longer operating, their legacy of shoddy workmanship remains and in some cases, leaving consumers with inefficient and potentially unsafe systems.

This doesn’t mean all installations of solar power systems occurring today are top-notch. Installation quality issues can still occur through inexperience, oversight or just plain negligence.

With the solar industry so competitive and margins so thin, some companies may incorporate high quality major items such as leading brand solar panels and inverters in their packages, but choose to cut corners on cabling, fixtures and fittings – and installer quality.

Given the nature of a rooftop array and the sometimes harsh environmental conditions in which it operates; every item and aspect needs to be of high quality. When it comes to solar PV, the little things certainly count towards not only efficiency; but safety too.

Another issue that can arise is installer workload – some are under pressure to install more systems within a timeframe than they are capable of competently performing.

Consumers need to take installation competence into account when considering buying a solar panel system and to be confident that the installation company will still be around to address any issues should they arise.

National solar provider Energy Matters provides a free 23 page Solar Power Consumer’s Guide for download with a substantial portion covering solar panel installation issues and questions to ask a potential installer.