Certificate of Compliance (COC) For Your Solar Installation

Certificate of Compliance (COC) For Your Solar Installation

A Certificate of Compliance (COC) is an essential legal document that validates the safety, quality, and regulatory compliance of your solar panel installation. Issued by a licensed and accredited electrician, the COC is your definitive proof that the installed system meets all Australian electrical safety standards and regulations.

After your installation is completed, this step in the process is essentially having a second set of expert eyes on your solar panel installation – checking its working, its safe and is up to date with all electrical regulations.

State-Specific Terminology and Requirements

The name for the Certificate of Compliance can vary depending on which Australian state you’re in, but the purpose remains the same—to ensure your solar installation meets all local and national safety standards.

  • In New South Wales, you’ll be dealing with a Certificate of Compliance Electrical Work (CCEW).
  • Queensland calls it an Electrical Safety Certificate.
  • Victorians will know it as the Certificate of Electrical Safety (COES).

Each Australian state has its own unique set of stipulations regarding what electrical work is covered by their respective certificates.

In New South Wales, the CCEW is comprehensive, covering new solar panel installations as well as alterations to existing systems, including battery additions.

In Queensland, the Electrical Safety Certificate places a strong emphasis on the safety measures implemented during the installation. This includes key aspects like grounding and circuit protections to ensure that the solar panel system is both effective and safe for use.

In Victoria, the COES often mandates an inspection focusing on the integration of the solar system into the existing electrical infrastructure. This could include how well the solar system works with existing switchboards and meters.

Understanding these state-specific regulations is crucial – not only for the final inspection but also for submitting an EWR and achieving grid approval from the distributor, highlighting the importance of partnering with a knowledgeable solar provider who is well-versed in the requirements of your particular state.

When is a Certificate of Compliance required?

Whether you’re installing a new solar panel system or making changes to an existing one, a Certificate of Compliance is usually required. However, the range of work that necessitates this document can differ from state to state. Generally speaking, you’ll need a Certificate of Compliance for:

  • New installations
  • Existing installations that have undergone alterations or additions
  • Any switchboard work
  • Stand-alone or off-grid power systems
  • Installation or alteration of an electricity meter
  • Adding a battery to an existing system
  • Expanding an existing system by adding more panels

How does the process work?

After the installation of your solar panel system is complete, an electrician reviews the work.

In Queensland and New South Wales, this safety check is done by the electrician who installed your solar at the time of installation. They perform a thorough step-by-step check of the system and then sign the Certificate of Compliance for your solar installation. Occasionally these are audited by a third-party inspector, but not regularly.

In Victoria this involves an independent solar inspector that Arkana Energy arranges, calling you to arrange a site visit and inspect your new solar solution to ensure your system is safe, that it complies with the latest regulations and that it is performing as expected. The independent solar inspector then produces a Certificate of Compliance which is sent to us at Arkana Energy for processing. If the inspector identifies any issues, the installation will fail the initial inspection, and the COC won’t be issued immediately. The inspector will document the areas that need attention, ranging from minor tweaks to major changes. Your installing company, in this case Arkana Energy, will then address these issues.

While getting this may introduce a minor delay in getting your system operational and connected to the grid, it’s a critical step to ensure the highest standards of safety and quality are met.

What happens next?

After the inspection is successfully completed and the Certificate of Compliance (COC) is issued, we move on to the next steps. At Arkana Energy, we manage all the administrative tasks on your behalf, streamlining the process for you. This involves filing the COC as well as submitting the necessary documents for your Electricity Work Request (EWR). The EWR is an essential step for gaining approval from your electricity distributor to connect your new solar system to the grid.

Alongside these steps, we’ll also arrange for the installation of your solar meter. This meter is vital for tracking how much solar energy your system is generating and how much excess power is being fed back into the grid. The solar meter is usually installed by a technician authorised by your electricity distributor, and it’s what enables you to earn feed-in tariffs for any surplus energy you generate.

Once these submissions and installations are complete, your electricity distributor will conduct a final review. Upon approval, your solar system is connected to the grid, allowing you to start generating your own electricity. This marks the completion of the process, freeing you to reap the financial and environmental rewards of your solar investment.


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