New South Wales Fair Trading will conduct a state wide check of solar panels after a compliance campaign in Port Macquarie revealed potentially fatal flaws in some homes.
Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has advised consumers to seek help from Fair Trading if they are worried about the installation of their solar panels.
Mr Roberts ordered the review after Fair Trading checks on 55 installations in Port Macquarie showed potentially fatal flaws in some homes.
"Fair Trading did checks in Port Macquarie in February between 14 and 25 February," Mr Roberts said.
"Port Macquarie was chosen because it provided a good snapshot for the rest of the state.
"At that point in time, in February this year, 756 grid connected, solar generating systems had been connected by 57 different installers in Port Macquarie.
The inspections in Port Macquarie audited the work of 36 electrical contractors on 55 homes in relation to the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and revealed problems with 16 installations.
"Three of the homes had significant defects with incorrect polarity at the solar panel DC isolator. That is, five per cent of the installations in homes FT looked at in Port Macquarie had serious problems.
With 120,000 units installed across the state, a potential 6,000 units could have serious problems, Mr Roberts said.
“That is six thousand NSW homes and families I am really worried about [that]."
Mr Roberts said consumers should not try to check solar panels themselves.
"First check the paperwork you should have received when the panels were installed," he said.
"After completion of solar panel installation work, a licensed electrician must check that your system is safe and if so, provide you with a Certificate of Compliance.
"This is your assurance that a licensed contractor has completed and tested the work to ensure it is effective and compliant with Australian wiring rules for electrical installation work."
Home building work including solar panel installation is covered by statutory warranties for a period of seven years.
Fair Trading advises that if you believe there has been a breach of these warranties, including if any evidence is found of defects, you should talk to the supplier and electrician about getting defects rectified.
Mr Roberts said Fair Trading would continue to enforce rectification of any unsafe work and deal with any breaches of the legislation with appropriate disciplinary action.
"If you are worried, call Fair Trading on 13 32 30," he said.
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