Solar Array Cabling

December 16, 2016

 

Due to a fire starting from faulty wiring between old and new sections of solar wiring, there has recently been a new safety alert issued by the NT WorkSafe department.

The fire started in a northern suburb of Darwin where, as part of an extension to the property, an existing solar installation was relocated. Although cabling was installed to the Standard and then joined to the existing solar cable, a fire still occurred. The level of damage caused by the fire prevented investigators identifying the cause.

According to the Clean Energy Council, over 1.51 million small-scale solar power systems were installed in 2015 across the country. With feed-in tariffs and falling costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, more and more Australians are choosing to opt for a renewable energy source and as such, Standards and installation practices should be carefully followed and adhered to.

When installing new systems or upgrading/relocating older ones, the following actions should be followed:

  • Heavy duty conduit should be used to prevent incidental damage
  • Cable to be fully enclosed in conduit throughout length between isolators
  • Conduits and enclosures carrying solar DC to be clearly marked ‘SOLAR’ to reduce accidental severing of DC cables
  • No joints in array cabling between array isolator and inverter isolator
  • Conduits to be sealed against moisture and insects
  • IP rating of equipment to be maintained
  • Ratings of equipment to meet current standards

For further information please refer to the following:

AS/NZS5033:2014 Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays

AS/NZS4777.2:2015 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters Part 2: Inverter requirements

AS/NZS4777.1:2016 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters Part 1: Installation requirements

 

Guidance publications

Clean Energy Council Install and Supervise Guidelines for accredited installers:2015

Clean Energy Council – The Critical Decade