What to Expect from Your Solar Inspector

Hi there! I’m Pat Southwell, and I’ve been a Licensed Electrical Inspector (LEI) in Victoria for nearly three years. If you’re a Victorian reader, you’re likely aware that all solar installations in our state are inspected. If you’re outside Victoria, you might still experience inspections through the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) or other state government programs. These inspections are likely similar in scope, though they may not always be performed by trained or qualified inspectors—another tick for Victoria.

What Happens During an Inspection

When it comes to inspecting solar or battery installations, here’s what you can expect from a good inspector: This may interest you : Everything You Need To Know About Buying Solar In Australia In 2024.

Getting on the Roof

The roof is where 90% of defects are found, including panels, mounts, and wiring issues. An inspector who doesn’t get on the roof is not doing their job. To see also : array. They should also check the roof cavity if DC cables are part of the installation. Extra points if they work safely at heights and wear a harness.

Performing Mandatory Tests

Inspectors must perform a series of mandatory tests using appropriate equipment such as an insulation resistance tester, voltmeter, clamp meter, and trailing earth lead. Testing is crucial to the required checks and must be performed every time. To see also : Backup Your Blackout Plans. Why Hybrid Solar Needs A Bypass Switch. These tests ensure the electrical connections are secure, the insulation is intact, and the system functions correctly and reliably.

Being a Mentor

A good inspector mentors the electrician/installer, sharing expert knowledge and experience to improve everyone’s skills. They should provide constructive feedback and support, helping solar installers learn and improve their work. If there’s an issue, it should be treated as a learning experience, not an opportunity to be arrogant or dismissive. This mentoring approach improves the quality of installations and fosters a culture of continuous improvement and professional development in the industry.

A new wave of LEIs is changing how they operate compared to how it has been for 20-25 years. With most of the old SEC inspectors hitting retirement, some younger inspectors have come in with a fresh attitude. Not to say all older inspectors are bad news because some are the smartest people I have ever met. But things are certainly changing, and it is definitely for the betterment of the industry.

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Preparing for an Inspection

Preparation is key to a smooth inspection. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Ensure Access: Make sure the inspector can easily access all parts of the system.
  • Review Documentation: Have all installation and warranty documents ready.
  • Clean the Area: Remove any debris or obstacles that might hinder the inspection.
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The Importance of Solar Inspections

Solar inspections are vital for maintaining your system’s safety. Over time, components can degrade and new issues can arise. Identifying poor workmanship will prolong its lifespan and maximize your investment. It will also keep the solar company honest.

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Conclusion

Inspections are crucial for ensuring the safety and effectiveness of your solar system. They help identify potential issues and maintain high industry standards. Moreover, inspectors can provide valuable advice on how your system works and how to keep it safe. By being prepared for your inspection, you can ensure a smooth process and lower the likelihood of inconvenience, ensuring your solar system remains a reliable and valuable investment for years to come.

Feel free to share your experiences of solar and battery inspections in the comments.

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