There are a number of requirements that you should be aware of before advertising, contracting, and/or installing solar panels.
Only the holder of a building or electrical contractors 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.
Solar panel electrical wiring, 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, an electrical qualified supervisor certificate or under the supervision of the holder of electrical qualified supervisor certificate.
It’s illegal to do unqualified electrical wiring work under the Home Building Act 1989.
Connecting to the electricity distribution network
Permission must be granted from the electricity distribution network prior to the connection of a solar installation to the electricity distribution network.
When a solar installation is connected from a home, business or other premises to the electricity distribution network, additional work may be required to be undertaken by 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 Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website to find a list of ASP's and their contact details.
To gain the benefits, and prior to the connection, of a solar installation the electrical meter is required to be an advanced “Smart” Type 4 or Type 4A meter.
If the existing meter is not a Type 4 or Type 4A, the electrical retailer will need to be contacted to arrange for the existing meter to be replaced.
The solar installer should liaison with the customer to ensure that the electrical retailer has been informed of the proposed solar installation works and the need for the meter replacement to be undertaken.
If a solar installation is connected to an existing Type 6 (analogue meter) and the inverter is turned on, the meter will cease to correctly register the customer’s electricity consumption.
As a result, the customer will receive estimated electricity bills from their energy retailer, and the customer will not be credited for any energy generated by the solar panels and exported to the grid.
Any estimated bill issued to the customer will not account for solar energy generated by the new system. The customer could also receive a defect notice from the local electricity distribution network.
The customer will not receive any benefits from their energy retailer for the solar energy exported to the grid until a type 4 or Type 4A meter is installed.
This means you should not connect an inverter to a Type 6 (analogue meter) and switch it on.
A Type 4 or Type 4A meter is larger than an existing meter, the solar installer should notify the customer if additional work is required to be carried out on the electrical switchboard to enable the fitment of the meter prior to conducting the solar system installation work.
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 for information about becoming accredited and the costs.
Compulsory home building compensation cover
Home building compensation cover (formerly known as home warranty insurance) is required for residential building work when the value of the work including labour, materials and GST exceeds $20,000.
The contractor must give the home owner proof that home building compensation cover has been taken out, before starting work or receiving any payment (including a deposit).
More information about home building compensation is available from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority website.
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.
The Home Building Act 1989 states that the maximum amount of deposit a customer can be asked to pay is 10 percent of the contract price.
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.