NT WorkSafe program ensuring quality rooftop solar installations

Territory homeowners are embracing renewable energy, with a boom in the installation of rooftop solar (Solar PV) systems. Over the past five years, the total number of Solar PV systems in the Northern Territory has increased by 248%, with the Northern Territory the only jurisdiction where the number of Solar PV installations continues to increase annually.

With an average Solar PV system costing around $10,000, a NT WorkSafe program is ensuring Territorians are getting the most out of their major household investment and most importantly, that it is safe.

NT WorkSafe Senior Electrical Safety Inspector Reg Dwyer said that because the Top End is in a cyclone region, the Northern Territory has specific requirements for Solar PV installations to make sure they don’t become missiles during a cyclone.

“Due to our extreme climate, installation work and practices that would be suitable in the southern states can cause issues in the Northern Territory,” Mr Dwyer said.

“Components of systems not installed to meet the Territory conditions can deteriorate quicker, potentially causing an electrical or fire risk.”

“Good quality Solar PV systems should last a household for 25 years if correctly installed,” Mr Dwyer said.

“A number of local and interstate companies entered the Territory market to meet the demand in 2013 and we found a lot of non-compliance issues during the random audits that year.”

“The electrical safety team commenced an education and compliance campaign in 2013 to improve the quality of Solar PV installations in the Northern Territory,” Mr Dwyer said.

“We’ve been working extensively with the solar industry, educating them on best practice to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations and Australian Standards.”

“The installation standards have improved greatly with less non-compliance issues found during last year’s random audits,” Mr Dwyer said.

”With the continued demand from Territory households for solar, we wanted to provide information to the consumer on what to expect when they have a solar PV system installed and how to get the most out of their investment.”

Territorians looking to install a Solar PV system in their home should:

  • choose a solar installer that is accredited by the Clean Energy Council
  • choose a solar installer with experience installing systems in the Northern Territory
  • make sure they have all the correct documentation once the installation is complete including:
    • certificates of compliance
    • building permits or exemptions
    • user manual
    • maintenance instructions
    • warranty information.