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How Do I Know That My Solar Panels Are Installed Properly?

Information verified correct on October 28th, 2016

Monitor your power output so you know your solar panels are working properly.

Even if you’ve had an inspection from the local council to verify your solar PV system is installed properly, the system may fail to deliver on the estimated energy production. You must monitor your solar panel’s performance at least once a year to see whether the actual electrical output is in line with the quoted estimate. If your system is underperforming by more than 20%, your solar panels may not have been installed properly or the system may be damaged.

Signs that your solar panels haven’t been installed property

Look out for the following signs:

  • Safety. Workers do not use any safety gear when they’re working from a height. This is a key requirement. Failure to adhere to safety standards may be an indication the workman is willing to cut corners with other parts of the solar installation.
  • Cleanliness. Failure to clean the worksite and restore the property back to its original level of cleanliness is unprofessional behaviour.
  • Damage. Roof tiles are cracked or not aligned with each other around the worksite.
  • Waterproofing. The roof has not been waterproofed back to its original state.
  • Cabling. Solar cables have not been fastened the wall properly and cables are not properly enclosed. Exposed DC isolators  are another indication of a bad solar installation.
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Good installation practices

These are a good indication the workman has carried out a professional and correct solar installation.

  • Attention to detail. Is the solar retailer switched on? Was the person who provided your quote attentive to your needs? Did their customer service meet your expectations.
  • Neat and tidy. Does it look like the installer actually takes pride in their work? Was the work area left in a tidy state once work stopped and are the inverters and meter box been clearly labeled.
  • Safety. Accredited solar installers should have attended training courses for working at heights and good companies will ensure all workmen use the right gear and equipment for the job. Is the emergency shutdown procedure clearly displayed on the switchboard in case of emergency.
  • Follow up service. Does the company offer a backup service at the time after the panels have been installed.
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Use an accredited workman for a high quality solar installation

Use a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited solar installer to ensure your solar panels and installation meet Australian standards. Accredited solar installers adhere to the CEC code of conduct. The code outlines industry best practice. To continue to receive accreditation CEC accredited solar installers must attend training two years after they received accreditation.

Read more about how to choose a solar supplier and installer.

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Making a complaint against a CEC accredited installer

  • The CEC will only investigate a claim if the PV system was installed less than 2 years ago.

If you think your accredited installer has breached the Clean Energy Council accredited installer code of conduct, you can take action against the individual tradesman by lodging a dispute through the CEC website.

  • Small Claims Tribunal

If you’re unable to resolve your dispute with your solar installer, you can take to the matter to the small claims tribunal. This step should be considered after you’ve referred the issue to the Clean Energy Council or the Fair Trading Office.

Use a CEC accredited installer or an approved solar retailer so you can be sure your solar panels are installed properly and the system meets your expectations.

Frequently asked questions

Do my PV panels need system maintenance once they’re installed?

PV systems are not maintenance free but they are low maintenance. You should only need to maintain your PV solar system once a year; however, this can vary depending on factors like excessive tree foliage falling onto the solar array.

It’s likely that you may need to clean the inverter and the area around the inverter and clear the space of vermin and insects, make sure the ventilation shaft is clear and the PV array is free of debris, like leaves and branches from overhead trees. Furthermore, battery banks can require more maintenance.

What do I do if my PV solar system stops working all of a sudden?

If your solar power system stops working, and your system is still under warranty, contact the retailer that sold you the system. Solar PV systems purchased from a CEC approved solar retailer are under warranty for at least 5 years. If the system is out of warranty, you may be liable to cover the cost of repairs and call out fee etc. You can find more information about warranties and what to do if your PV solar array stops working in the system manual.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is's publisher for banking and investments. She is currently studying a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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