Our solar installation support resources provide information to assist you with issues that may occur after installation.
Sometimes panels, batteries and inverters may develop faults, or you may experience issues after installation. Issues with any part of your solar system should always be checked by a qualified electrician. Once the system is installed, your solar installer should ensure that your system meets the safety and network requirements before it can be switched on or ‘energised’.
It is important to understand that the ability of your solar to export to the grid at any given time will vary and can be affected by local conditions such as cloudy weather, demand for electricity from other customers in your local area or installation defects. As solar becomes more popular, there is an increasing trend in excess solar power production during the middle of the day when consumer demand is low. Over supply of solar to the network can reduce the quality of power on the network. To address this issue, the National Electricity rules specify that inverters are configured to automatically reduce export in certain conditions to maintain the safety and stability of the grid. Without these limitations, inverters would either shut down completely or possibly damage other equipment in your home. For more information on the technical specifications for inverters, please see 'Understanding solar exports' on Information for Solar Installers.
Incorrect installation of your inverter may also cause issues exporting to the network. If your inverter develops a fault, you should contact your installer for further advice.
Some inverter errors, including grid errors, can be temporary and should clear on their own. If your error does not clear, you should check your inverter manufacturer’s service centre webpage for troubleshooting information or contact your installer. Your inverter manufacturer may provide user guide information regarding how to manually shut down and restart your inverter. You can give this a try and see if it clears the error. However, if you do not feel confident in following the manufacturer’s instructions, you should contact an electrically qualified professional to check your inverter.
Many inverters use the term ‘grid’ in their error codes. It is important to understand that a ‘grid error’ does not necessarily mean that there is a grid issue. An inverter may temporarily display a grid error from time to time; however, if this does not resolve itself and is recurring or permanent, you will need to contact your solar installer or other qualified electrician to investigate.
Possible reasons for error codes are:
In certain conditions a solar inverter may experience a 'high volts' error. It is important to understand that the inverter does not measure the voltage of the grid but rather the voltage of the private installation at the terminals of the inverter. Australian standards set the maximum voltage that an inverter is allowed to produce at its terminals which connects to the rest of your premises and the electricity network.
When the inverter is producing more power than the household is consuming, the excess power is sent back into the grid. To do this, the inverter needs to produce a higher voltage than the grid voltage. If the required voltage is higher than the limit set, to comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS4777.2 the inverter will generate an error which could result in its shut down. Some inverters will also limit the amount of power they are trying to export to prevent the inverter voltage from going too high.
Regular maintenance of your solar and/or battery systems will maintain its performance and prolong its life. We recommend that your system is serviced annually by a qualified electrician.
Your maintenance schedule should include the following steps:
Solar systems use inverters that are designed to switch off during power outages. Once power from the grid is restored, the solar inverter will monitor the grid stability for a period of at least 60 seconds before turning back on. This is an important safety feature to keep the electricity network personnel workers safe whilst working to restore power.
Some solar plus battery combinations can be configured to operate when the grid is off. If this is important to you, you should discuss these options further with an accredited solar installer.
If your system is not operating correctly following a power outage, please contact your installer to investigate.
If you have any concerns about your solar/battery installation, you should contact the company you engaged to do the original installation. If the original installer is not available or you have moved into a property that has existing solar/battery and you experience an issue with your solar/battery system, you should engage a New Energy Tech Approved Seller or Clean Energy Council Accredited Installer to check your system. Solar panels often have warranties up to 25 years and inverters may have warranties up to 10 years for repair or replacement of the equipment, once professionally diagnosed.
Solar inverter or battery system noise – When standing next to your solar inverter or battery system, you may hear a quiet humming noise during operation. This noise shouldn’t be heard above the normal ambient noises of a normal neighbourhood if you move away from the inverter. If the inverter or battery system is making a louder noise, such as a buzzing or crackling, then it’s likely it is defective or needs maintenance. You should arrange for a service inspection as soon as possible by contacting your original installer or alternatively another qualified electrician.
Solar panel noise – Your solar panels should be silent. If you notice any rattling or crackling coming from your solar panel installation, this could suggest a problem with your cabling or fixings and you should contact your installer or other qualified electrician to investigate.
Installer and manufacturer’s warranties vary. Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailers are committed to providing a five-year warranty. If you believe a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer has breached their warranty obligations, please refer to the CEC’s complaints procedure.
Whilst your solar system may have a particular maximum rating, it is likely that it will only achieve this rating for 2-3 hours during the summer months on a cloudless day. During winter the maximum output may only achieve 50-60% of the rating of the system because the sun is not as intense during these months.The angle of your solar panels will also impact the power generated. Optimally your panels should face directly toward the sun continuously in order to generate the maximum amount of power. Whilst tracking systems that achieve this do exist, it is usually more economic to just add additional solar panels to the fixed system to gain similar power yields.
Cloudy days and shading from adjacent structures or trees can significantly reduce the output of your system.Many solar apps from inverter manufacturers will provide reporting on whether your system is performing below expectations.
If you have recently had solar installed and your next electricity bill is not showing a solar tariff, you will need to check that you have an approved connection application and ensure the Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Work (CCEW) has been submitted to Ausgrid at the completion of installation.
Your meter may need to be upgraded to enable solar exports to be recorded at your premises. Whilst your solar installer may be able to assist you with managing this process, the home owner is responsible for ensuring this occurs and you will need to discuss this requirement and your feed-in tariff with your electricity retailer. It can take several weeks for a meter upgrade to take place after your solar has been installed.
If you know that your meter has been upgraded, or you were previously getting a feed in tariff, we recommend that you first confirm that your system is generating solar power. You can do this by checking the daily solar output on your solar app.
If your solar appears to be working as expected, then we recommend that you contact your retailer to discuss why a solar feed in tariff is not being paid.
Whilst there is usually not an issue with installing a new solar system adjacent to an existing system at the same premises, there may be economic benefit and improved solar generation by removing older systems that are nearing end of life and replacing them with a single larger system
Whilst Ausgrid supports the principle of reusing equipment, this often creates significant complexities and older systems will not meet the requirements of modern standards. New installations (even those using older equipment) need to meet the requirements of the current standards. There have been many changes to inverter standards in recent years, and hence many older inverters do not comply with these modern requirements.
Testing and warranting the installation also becomes more complex for installers as the condition of used equipment can vary greatly.
Using of second hand equipment may impact access to government rebates.
You should discuss this directly with your installer. However, installers typically do this because the metering is yet to be properly configured for the solar feed-in. In the case of large commercial installations, the installer may still need to complete the required commissioning checks.
Ausgrid may carry out audit inspections of solar and battery installations connected to our network.
Please note: Due to the large number of solar and battery systems being installed, it can take several months for our installation inspectors to visit your premises after your installation has been connected.
If any system is found to be unsafe, we will disconnect it immediately. The installation inspector will leave a notification of disconnection and details of the safety defect at the premises. For more information, see Electrical Installation Defects.
|Enquiry||Responsible party and contact|
|If you have concerns about your installation||Contact your solar installer
The contact information will be on the invoice or contract you received at the time of installation
|Find an accredited installer to check the safety of solar panels|| Clean Energy Council - Find an installer
|Your consumer rights||Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - Consumer Guarantees|
|Lodge a complaint about a retailer||NSW Fair Trading 13 32 20|
|If you have question about breaches of the Accreditation Code of Conduct as well as Australia standards for solar installers||Clean Energy Council Website Dispute Form|