Installing solar panels

There are a number of requirements that you should be aware of before advertising, contracting, and/or installing solar panels.

Licence requirements

Only the holder of a building or electrical class of licence can contract in NSW to install solar panels on the roof of a residential property or other premises. A building contractor can enter into a contract to install solar panels but an electrical licence holder must be hired as part of the contract to carry out the necessary electrical wiring work.

Electrical wiring

Electrical wiring of all solar panels, regardless of the cost of the work and whether the work is on a residential, commercial or industrial site, must be completed by someone who has an electrical contractor licence or a qualified supervisor certificate (QSC). It’s illegal to do unqualified electrical wiring work under the Home Building Act 1989.

Connecting to the electricity distribution network

When a solar installation is connected from a home, business or other premises to the electricity distribution network, a suitably qualified person authorised under the Accredited Service Provider (ASP) Scheme must complete the work. The Electricity Supply Act 1995 gives electricity customers the right to choose who carries out this work.

Go to the NSW Planning & Environment website to find a list of ASP's and their contact details.

Rebates

In order for the work of installing solar panels to get the State or Federal Government rebates, if available, the installer must be accredited by the Clean Energy Council of Australia. Go to the Clean energy Council website for information about becoming accredited and the costs involved.

Cover under the Home Building Compensation Scheme

You must have cover under the Home Building Compensation Scheme for residential building work that exceeds $20,000 including GST. Any rebate the consumer can claim for the installation of solar panels must not be deducted from the cost of the work for the purpose of avoiding the $20,000 threshold for insurance under the Home Building Compensation Scheme. It’s illegal to ask for payment under the contract (when the value of the work exceeds $20,000) unless insurance under the Home Building Compensation Scheme has been taken out. Go to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority website for more information about the Home Building Compensation Scheme.

Contracts

You must provide a written contract for all residential building work over $5,000. Before asking for any money for the supply and installation of solar panels, or commencing any installation work the consumer must be provided with:

  • a written contract
  • a copy of the Fair Trading publication Consumer building guide if the work is worth more than $5,000.
  • a certificate of cover under the Home Building Compensation Scheme when the contract price is over $20,000 including GST or, if the contract price is not known, the reasonable market cost of the labour and materials involved is over $20,000.

Go to the home building contracts page for more information about contracts.

Deposits

The Home Building Act 1989 puts limits on deposits required under contracts. It states that:

  • if the contract price is $20,000 or less, the maximum amount of deposit a customer can be asked to pay is 10 percent of the contract price
  • if the contract price is more than $20,000 the maximum amount of deposit a customer can be asked to pay is 5 percent of the contract price.

Statutory warranty

All residential building work must be done with due care and skill and comply with the requirements of the relevant legislation, codes and standards. The statutory warranty provisions of the Home Building Act 1989 apply to the installation of solar panels and are in effect for six years for major defects and two years for any other defects, starting from the date the work was completed.