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Installation of solar panels

This resource provides information on the regulations and other considerations when having solar panels installed or considering having solar panels installed.

More and more Australian homes are having solar panels installed as prices become more affordable and solar power technology advances, but do you know what regulations and other considerations are relevant when having solar panels installed or considering having solar panels installed? 

The relevant Australian Standard for the installation of solar panels or photovoltaic (PV) panels or modules is AS/NZS 5033.

The Standard sets out the general installation and safety requirements for PV panels including D.C array wiring, electrical protection devices, and switching and earthing up. 

The Standard does not cover energy storage devices (battery storage) or loads.

Requirements of the standard

AS/NZS 5033 requires that: 

  • All equipment and wiring shall be selected and installed in accordance with the provisions of AS/NZS 3000, which is the Standard for electrical installations as well as AS/NZS 5033.
  • It also requires that Inverters must be installed in locations with safe access and adequate working space and be readily available - this does not apply to micro inverters.
  • PV cabling must be identified with a permanent, indelible marking in English or coloured "SOLAR" labels attached at intervals of not more than 2 meters. 
  • When the PV cable is enclosed in conduit or other wiring enclosure a coloured "SOLAR" label must be attached at each end of the wiring enclosure and at each change of direction.
  • All outdoor equipment must be suitable for the environment and be at least IP 54 and UV resistant. 
  • All PV array switch-disconnectors must be readily accessible and are to be marked with an identification name or number according to the PV array wiring diagram and have clear indication of isolation position off and on e.g. O and I.
  • Earthing or bonding connections must be arranged so that the removal of a single module earth connection will not affect the continuity of the earthing or bonding connections to any other module.

The Clean Energy Council

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for the clean energy industry in Australia.

They are a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation and represent and work with Australia's leading renewable energy and energy storage businesses, as well as rooftop solar installers, to further the development of clean energy in Australia.

The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of approved modules, inverters and batteries that meet Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar and battery storage systems so it is important that accredited persons and retailers should always refer to the lists before performing an installation. 

The lists are dynamic, and products can be de-listed at any given time if found in breach of the Clean Energy Council's Product Listing Terms and Conditions or voluntarily removed at the request of the manufacturer for products that are not actively imported.

Only systems with products from the approved lists are eligible to receive small-scale technology certificates (STCs) under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) which creates a financial incentive for individuals and small businesses to install eligible small-scale renewable energy systems such as solar panel systems.

How can I be sure my PV module is compliant and approved?

The Clean Energy Council's listing of compliant PV modules shows the certificate holder, model number, power rating and certifier for each approved module which must correspond directly with the module label.

The modules must be advertised and sold under the certificate name and model numbers which are used on the Clean Energy Council list. Brand names may only be used in association with the certificate holder name and must be owned by the certificate holder.

The module label must show the correct TUV Certifier Mark (logo) corresponding to the Clean Energy Council listing. Installers or inspectors can send a photo of the label to products@cleanenergycouncil.org.au to check against the Clean Energy Council’s file copy.

Planning/building approval

It may be the case that planning and or building approval is required for the installation of PV panels.

For example, a planning permit may be required to erect solar panels attached to a building if your site is covered by a Heritage Overlay and the panels and supporting equipment are visible from a street.

It is best to contact the relevant local council planning department to check if planning approval is triggered.

Building approval may also be required if the roof structure needs to be altered to facilitate installation of PV panels; your State or Territory building authority should be able to clarify what the requirements are when carrying out alterations.

Placement of panels on roofs

All panels should be positioned to avoid the overshadowing from nearby buildings, trees and power lines/poles.

The ideal placement of PV panels is an unshaded roof facing due north however an east-west arrangement can also be effective.

It is almost impossible to predict future nearby development that may restrict solar access to panels but if there is a property under development it would be beneficial to access the designs to determine if the building will have an adverse effect on solar access to your panels and what can be done to minimise this before installation.

Revision of AS/NZS 5033

Standards Australia has published a revision to AS/NZS 5033:2021, Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays

The revision aims to support users in meeting compliance requirements and promote consumer safety and to provide clear and relevant guidance to support safe systems and safe practices for industry professionals and consumers. 

The standard has also been restructured to promote better readability, supporting users in meeting compliance requirements. 

The revision includes several other significant updates including:

  • updating of requirements for micro inverter installations and DC conditioning units which will enable greater use of technology across larger panels, supporting better safety outcomes.
  • the current 2014 standard was based around 250W per panel which was common then; the revised standard recognises changing technology including panels that can have a capacity of greater than 400W.
  • the use of DC isolators is still allowed but the Standard allows for other solutions such as disconnection points.
  • Australia previously had a limitation of 600V for panels for houses but recently aligned with international requirements of 1000V which is reflected in the revised Standard.

AS/NZS 5033:2014 will remain current for six months after this time it will be superseded by AS/NZS 5033:2021. Regulatory authorities that reference this standard may apply these requirements at a different time and of this standard should consult with these authorities to confirm their requirements.


To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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