Did you know your switchboard must be properly assessed prior to the installation of a solar system?
It is the responsibility of all electricians that an accredited solar installers to advise owners if their switchboard and/or meter box is not compliant to current standards.
What are Switchboards/Meter Boxes?
Switchboards and meter boxes are the protection safety side of your electrical installation for you, your appliances and cabling. This is achieved through the inclusion of safety switches to protect you from electric shock. Safety switches work by shutting off the electricity supply within 300 milliseconds of detecting a current leakage.
Non-Compliant Switchboards/Meter Boxes
Older switchboards such as the one below, do not comply. This is because older switchboards were not required to facilitate the large number of electrical appliances and/or devices present in homes today (i.e TV’s, phones, Wi-Fi, solar, ducted air conditioning, etc).
A switchboard is most likely to be compliant if your home is less than 10 years old.
A complying switchboard must:
- Be metal
- Have a hinged door
- Be large enough to install more meters
- Contain electrical safety switches
Solar System and Switchboards
Unfortunately, it is still possible to install a solar system without considering the adequacy of the switchboard to support it.
After a solar system is installed, Energex is contacted to install solar meters into the switchboard. It is here problems regularly occur. If the switchboard does not comply with regulations or there is no more space for a meter, Energex will refuse/be unable to connect your system to the grid.
This emphasises the importance of communicating directly with your solar designer and installer to avoid the diffusion of responsibility ensuring you aren’t, ‘left in the dark’.