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NSW Solar Audit

Written on the 30 June 2011 by CEC

Industry reassures consumers on solar power

29 Jun 2011

The renewable energy industry has allayed consumer concerns about household solar power systems following a NSW Government statement today about the results of an audit conducted by the Office of Fair Trading.

Mr Matthew Warren, the Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, which represents more than 300 solar companies and is responsible for the accreditation of solar installers, said solar systems were safe and the risk to solar households was very low.

"Australian solar has an excellent track record and some of the most stringent safety standards in the world," Mr Warren said.

"The main issue identified by the NSW Government related to a particular type of switch called a DC circuit breaker that has been installed incorrectly in some systems.

"This is not a new issue. It first came to the attention of government and industry late last year and remedial action has been underway since December. We will continue to work with the NSW Government to address this problem and to ensure that it is fixed."

The safest thing for people to do is to leave their system alone and contact the company where they purchased it if they have concerns. The other option is to visit and find an accredited installer who can independently check systems for a fee.

Most of the defects identified by the NSW Government in its audit of 658 systems related to incorrect marking and signage. The "major" defects mostly related to incorrectly installed DC circuit breakers.

Mr Warren said there had been only three minor incidents reported from more than 300,000 solar panel installations nationwide, and no actual house fires.

"In contrast there are more than 2000 house fires caused by faulty electrical wiring in Australia each year.

"This is a safe industry and we welcome the increased scrutiny by the government. Solar systems are required to be installed by a licensed electrician with special training and there are rigorous standards for installing solar power systems that were first introduced by the Howard Government in 2001."

An information sheet for households about DC circuit breakers is available on the Clean Energy Council website at

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 

For full details see Clean Energy Council

Author: CEC
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