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Small (<240W) Extra-low-voltage Solar Installations soon to be subjectto new rules - action required


Chris Jones

Jan 1, 1970
Hi all,

If you like the idea of being able to install your own 12 Volt solar
module to run a ventillation fan in your shed, or keep a battery charged
to run a light in your shed, or install any other small solar panels on
your premises, then you might find that it is much harder and more
expensive than it used to be, unless you have your say NOW (by 28th Oct).

The standard for solar installations, AS5033, is being revised, but the
draft standard is open to comments from the public until the 28th.
AS5033 requires such things as:

corrosion resistant mountings, surge protection, uv resistant materials,
circuit breakers, disconnecting devices, earth fault interrupters, steel
wire armoured cables, earthing and bonding arrangements, equipment
marking, wiring identification, fire emergency information,
labelling/signs for disconnection devices, documentation, maintenance
recommendations, commissioning tests, commissioning sheet, insulation
resistance measurement, open circuit voltage measurements, infrared
scan, earth fault protection test, lightning protection, screening and
shielding, etc. etc.

In the future, if you want to know which of these you would need to
apply to your DIY installation you would need to spend a few hundred $$$
buying the standard, then who knows how much more making your little
solar panel comply with complicated rules.

Presently (in the 2012 version of the standard), solar arrays of less
than 240 Watts and less than 50 Volts are outside the scope of the
standard - which is sensible as such modules are not especially
hazardous. The draft standard will remove this restriction for fixed
modules, and only allows PORTABLE arrays to be exempt. So your solar
powered pocket calculator will not need lightning protection and danger
signs, but your solar powered illuminated street number might.

If you would like to have your say on this topic, go to this web address
and find AS5033 and leave some comments:

Here are more instructions for leaving comments: to submit a comment on a Draft Standard.pdf

You need to create an account to read the draft standard and make
comments, but it is free of charge and your only way to influence these


Chris Jones

Jan 1, 1970
Or just drop the text into this thread?

I suspect that would be some kind of copyright violation (even though it
is publically accessible whilst it is still a draft), I read that they
don't like people quoting more than 50% of the text. I don't like
copyrighted standards, especially if they become referred to in laws.

Instead, I will post an excerpt of the change that bothers me:

Old text, from the "Scope" section of AS5033-2012:
"PV arrays of less than 240 W and less than 50 V open circuit voltage at
Standard Test Condition (STC) are not covered by this Standard."

Proposed new text, from the "Scope" section of DR2 AS/NZS 5033:
"PV arrays in portable equipment of less than 240 W and less than 50 V
open circuit voltage at Standard Test Condition (STC) are not covered by
this Standard."


Adrian Jansen

Jan 1, 1970
Soon you will have to follow a set of standards and rules to be able to
walk outside your own back door.


Jan 1, 1970
Dear all

I note and share some concern about this standard and its increased scope, but before getting too carried away....

It's not clear what impact, if any, it will have. Unless compliance with the standard becomes a mandatory requirement in legislation, then it is merely a guideline for installers. A (very limited) google search suggests that it is not referred to in legislation (except possibly regulations about installations where energy efficiency credits are claimed - probably not applicable to this scale of installation anyway).

Does anyone know of legislation that forces compliance with this standard (especially non-grid connected installations)? Of course, laws can be introduced in the future, which is a worry. To this end, it would be helpful if the standard said, that in relation to installations below 240 watts etc, itwas simply a 'best practice' guideline and not a mandatory requirement. I'll be sending comments to SA to this effect.


Jan 1, 1970
Does anyone know of legislation that forces compliance with this
standard (especially non-grid connected installations)?

LGA inspectors who come across them are an obvious one.
Some LGA in Tassie are reportedly fining people for not obtaining
development consent before getting roof top pv installations.

Basically, any smart arse licensed contractor can. There are plenty of
these around who want to force people to employ them.