Cutting Corners on Solar a Massive Risk: Swiss Expert

A global solar supply company warns some Australian solar projects are cutting corners and using poor quality components.

Swiss solar component supplier Leoni claims some Australian engineering, procurement and construction contractors (EPCs) are not using international cabling standards.

Leoni’s Jan Mastny says on large-scale solar projects this could be potentially costly, posing a “massive risk” for investors.

Leoni recently supplied some of the DC cabling for the Limondale Solar Farm project at Balranald, near Mildura, NSW.

‘Pure Australian companies’ at fault

Speaking to pv magazine, Mastny said “pure Australian companies” were straying from the “very fine work” of overseas firms.

He said the approach to DC cabling in Australia was to adopt the norms used in AC cabling. However, he said the two cabling requirements were not interchangeable.

“It’s important to keep in mind, that there is ‘constructional’ difference between AC cables and DC cables,” he explained.

“The same applies to the construction differences between low-voltage and mid-voltage.”

Mastny is speaking at pv magazine’s Quality Roundtable event at All Energy Australia in Melbourne on October 23.

Limondale Solar Farm — NSW’s biggest solar array

The Limondale Solar Farm is expected to be fully operational by mid-2020. It will house approximately 872,000 panels and cover an area of 900 hectares — around 415 football fields.

Operating at full capacity, Limondale will produce 349MW, which will be the largest solar farm in NSW.

However, that pales in comparison to Queensland’s Harlin Solar Farm, at Harlin near Kilcoy. Now under construction, Harlin will produce 1,500MW of clean power at full capacity.

To put that in perspective, the Liddell coal-fired power station near Muswellbrook in NSW produces 2,000MW — along with air pollutants.

Install quality components backed with warranties

By installing solar panels and battery storage, your home or business can reap the benefits of lower power bills.

However, there is a risk that some solar installers will use poor quality components or be unable to meet warranty commitments.

At Solaray Energy, we pride ourselves on industry-leading solar power installations using components from the best brands including LG solar panels and SMA inverters – the brand used on the Limondale Solar Farm. Contact Solaray to speak with one of our solar advisers by providing your details below.

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