Want to add more panels to your solar PV system? Here’s what you need to know.
On 9 October 2016, changes to AS4777.2:2015 (the Australian Standard for ‘Grid connection of energy systems via inverters - Inverter requirements’) took effect which are likely to influence your plans to upgrade your existing solar PV system.
What has changed?
Legislation regulating solar power installations (which is guided by AS4777.2:2015) now states that you will only be entitled to receive STC (small-scale technology certificate) discounts for new solar panels if you meet the following requirements:
- Your system needs to be installed in accordance with the new standards. Most installs prior to 2013, for example, won’t have the panels earthed, the DC cables are unlikely to be in conduit, and other standards won’t have been met.
- Your existing panels must have been tested for Fire Safety Class C. Check if your panels are on the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) approved list here: http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/products/modules/building-approved-modules.html.
- Your inverter must be on the CEC’s latest approved list, regardless of whether your inverter was CEC approved when you originally installed it. Check if your inverter is on the list here: http://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/products/inverters/approved-inverters.html.
You can earn new STCs (small-scale technology certificates) by upgrading your system
The Clean Energy Council works closely with the organisations responsible for the safety and regulation of Australia's solar PV industry, including state electrical bodies, the Clean Energy Regulator (the Government body that regulates the solar industry) and Standards Australia (the organisation that sets the safety standards).
When the Australian standards were updated to improve the safety of solar PV installations across the country, the relevant laws (which determine how STCs are issued) were updated too.
The CEC isn’t responsible for updating the standards or for enforcing the legislation, it simply maintains the list of approved modules and inverters that meet Australian Standards.
What’s the best way to meet the new standards when upgrading my system?
The first thing you need to do is contact Solargain to arrange a health check of your existing system, regardless of when your system was originally installed. (You can book your health check here.) This will make sure your existing system is compliant before we start on your upgrades; otherwise, Solargain is legally obliged to rectify any non-compliance issues. (Although our experienced sales consultants can offer a lot of guidance on the best system for your needs, only an on-site visit from a Solargain technician can confirm whether your installation meets the new standards.)
While we understand that these regulations have made it difficult for customers wanting to upgrade, the current STC regulations allow new STCs to be created for customers who upgrade their systems with higher efficiency panels and inverters.
Solar panels are now approximately one tenth of the price they were five years ago, so Solargain can offer you a very competitive price when you decide to trade your old system in. By upgrading, you’ll get a chance to pick your size again, achieve better performance, a new warranty for your panels, inverter and workmanship, and have a new installation that meets the current standards.
When you trade your existing system in for a new one, we’ll happily remove and dispose of your old system free of charge. You can keep the original system if you like, although we’re required to decommission it and remove it from the roof. (In the case of particularly large systems, there may be an additional fee to remove it.)
Let us help
We understand how frustrating these changes are; however, we can help you make the most of the situation. Contact our customer service team on 1300 73 93 55 or fill in this quick form to upgrade today.