Standards Australia has revealed a revised standard for solar energy, to support growing demand and the rapid uptake of solar photovoltaics (PV).

The revised standard, AS/NZS 5033:2021, Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays, addresses safe practices for consumers and industry professionals.

Head of Standards Development at Standards Australia, Roland Terry-Lloyd, said, “With millions of solar PV panel systems being installed across Australia, clear and relevant standards are paramount in supporting safe practice for industry professionals, homeowners and businesses.”

The standard sets out general installation and safety requirements for electrical installations of PV arrays, including direct current (DC) array wiring, electrical protection devices, switching and earthing provisions.

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

AS/NZS 5033:2014 will remain current for six months, and after this time it will be superseded by AS/NZS 5033:2021 

The updating of requirements for micro inverter installations and DC conditioning units will enable greater use of technology across larger panels, supporting better safety outcomes.

Committee El-042 assessed different requirements around the world against Australian conditions, identified achievable safety outcomes, and determined a number of different solutions that industry can choose to best suit their installations.

EL-042 Co-Chair, Sandy Atkins, said, “At the time the 2014 standard was written, solar panels were at most 250W per panel, but technology is quickly changing, and it’s not unusual for panels to be greater than 400W.

“Therefore, AS/NZS 5033:2014 was limiting for installation professionals.

“If you still want to use DC isolators then you can, but if you don’t, 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. 

Additionally, AS/NZS 5033:2021 also aligns with international standard IEC 62548:2016, Photovoltaic (PV) arrays — Design requirements.

“Solar is booming worldwide, so it’s important we align with international standards so that the Australian market can use international products and technologies as well,” Mr Atkins said.

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