Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 - KNX National Group
Today, peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), welcomed the start of the NSW government’s safety audit of solar panel installations in the western suburbs of Sydney.

The program commenced yesterday in Blacktown, Baulkham Hills, Kellyville and surrounding areas.

NECA NSW chief executive, Mr Lindsay Le Compte, said the audit was essential to ensure that the level of compliance with existing building and electrical installation standards and regulations is being achieved.

“NECA represents over 5,000 electrical contracting firms in Australia and contractors in New South Wales welcome this audit to make sure the safety of consumers and compliant installations remain the priority for all solar panel installers,” Mr Le Compte said.

“The government’s inspection of solar installations in the Port Macquarie area identified a number of safety issues and it makes sense for the government to undertake a wider audit in the Sydney region to test whether the Port Macquarie findings are an aberration or consistent with installations elsewhere.

“The majority of solar panel installers have done the right thing but we have seen some installations that do not meet existing standards and regulations. In some cases these poor installations could cause dangerous electrical faults or fire so the safety audit will help identify and repair any faults.”

NECA has worked with NSW Fair Trading and provided a list of its members who are licensed electrical contractors with qualifications in grid connected solar installations, and a number of these contractors are currently assisting Fair Trading inspectors with the audit.

“It is pleasing to see the government working with industry on this initiative because NECA provides training for the electrical industry in the installation of solar panels and operates the leading EcoSmart Electricians program that brings electricians up to date on renewable energy issues and new technologies,” Mr Le Compte said.

“NECA also developed an inspection checklist and safe work method statements for solar panel installations and these will be used during the audit.”

Although the electrical industry has an enviable record of safety compliance, the audit will determine whether or not any contractors or their employees need to lift their game in relation to new technologies such as solar.

“Whatever the form of energy generation, the fact is the generation systems need to be installed and tested by licensed people, complying with the relevant standards so that the community may be satisfied that the installation and their properties are safe,” Mr Le Compte said.

Consumers wanting more information can call the Fair Trading hotline on 13 32 20 and NECA has a Find an Electrician service on its website – www.neca.asn.au

-ENDS-

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Ian Richardson – President

P: 02 9888 3081
W: www.knx.org.au

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NECA solar panel safety audit Sydney inspection national electrical and communications association

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