The Clean Energy Council’s crackdown on rooftop solar system quality in Australia has claimed another scalp, this time the inverters of China-based company Shenzhen Sofarsolar.
The CEC said on Wednesday that all inverters made by Shenzhen Sofarsolar had been “de-listed” from the organisation’s catalogue of compliant products, after tests turned up a potential safety issue.
“A PV grid-connect inverter of model Sofar 3000TL has failed testing by the Clean Energy Council for compliance with AS 4777-2,” a statement from the Council said.
“As a result of failing the Passive Anti-islanding test, the Active Anti-islanding test and other issues, all inverters from Shenzhen Sofarsolar have been de-listed as of 21 February 2018.
“This failure is regarded by the CEC as a potential safety issue for personnel as the inverter may not shut down under some grid failure conditions,” the statement said.
The CEC conceded that this might not be the case for all of the company’s inverters, but said that – as it was not practical to test all of the manufacturer’s products – it was taking the results of the testing on this model as representative of other models until demonstrated otherwise.
It also advised solar installers who had stock of the brand to stop using it – and to seek advice from the manufacturer or the electrical safety authorities on what to with inverters that had already been installed.
At this stage, the CEC said, no advice had been given by the company or electrical safety authorities.
As we have reported on One Step Off The Grid, the CEC has been working hard to tighten the rules and standards of Australia’s booming rooftop solar market, since introducing a suite of new guidelines and standards in early 2016.
The new rules have allowed the CEC to take action against suppliers that fail to meet standards, and also introduced a random testing program for solar panels and inverters to ensure the performance of products being sold in Australia was living up to marketing claims and safety standards.
As regular One Step Off The Grid contributor and long-time solar industry insider Nigel Morris noted, the new rules had a swift and major effect on the market.
By November 2016, the CEC had slashed the list of approved solar panels for the Australian market from more than 400 to 217.