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Electricians say solar framework needs an overhaul following more dangerous stats

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Peak electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has called upon governments at all levels to work together to remove unqualified solar installers and protect consumers following official government figures that indicate several dangerous installations.

NECA represents the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide.

Following safety inspections conducted at various solar installations, the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator confirmed that 4% of the solar power systems were deemed unsafe while 20% were found to be dangerous.

NECA’s chief executive officer, Mr James Tinslay comments that the current regulatory framework for solar installations should be overhauled.

He explains that solar installations are classified as electrical installations under existing regulations, allowing only licensed electricians to install or supervise installation.

However, the boom in the industry created by government subsidies and generous feed-in tariffs has attracted unlicensed and inexperienced installers to the business in spite of the accreditation process established by the Clean Energy Council, which obviously is not working.

NSW Fair Trading conducted inspections in Port Macquarie early this year that revealed problems with 16 installations out of 55 homes in relation to the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004. Based on these results, the NSW government conducted another round of safety audits on homes in western Sydney.

Of the 658 homes inspected in the second audit, 122 (18.5%) were found to have major defects, 418 (63.5%) were found to have minor defects and 118 (18%) were found to have no defects. Inspections of solar installation in other states have found similar results.

NECA represents over 5000 electrical contracting businesses that employ in excess of 60,000 workers in the industry and believes there is a strong future in Australia for renewable energy.

Mr Tinslay believes that it is time to develop a framework that is best for the industry, consumer, government as well as the environment to ensure the long term viability of the renewable energy industry and the safety of consumers.

This information is presented by Ferret - www.ferret.com.au .

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