COC for Solar Installations
Prepared by : SAPAC Reporter
Article Classification: Information
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Does my Solar System require a Certificate of Compliance COC
Looking for a COC for a Solar Installation?
Lets look at the benefits of a COC for an electrical solar installation!
An Electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is an official document verifying the safety of an electrical installation. It certifies that the installation is free from risks to humans, animals, or property and adheres to the regulations specified in the Electrical Installations Occupational Health and Safety Act. The CoC confirms the following:
- Proper functioning of all electrical circuits.
- Absence of electric shock hazards or fire risks within the premises.
- No presence of faulty electrical works.
- Adequate earthing and bonding of the building or home.
Why does my Solar PV Management System require a CoC?
A Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is mandatory whenever a solar system is integrated into a property's electrical system. This CoC must be issued before the solar system becomes operational.
However, issuance of a CoC for the addition of a solar system is contingent upon the existence of a valid CoC for the entire electrical installation. In cases where a valid CoC is absent, a Registered Electrical Contractors must furnish a new CoC covering the entirety of the property's electrical installation, including the solar system.
In South Africa, there's a prevalent misconception that any company offering solar installation services is authorized to conduct the installation. This is incorrect. By law, a solar installation company is not permitted to perform any electrical work, including solar installations, unless it is a registered Electrical Contractor sanctioned by the Department of Labour and employs at least one Registered Person (a qualified electrician with a wireman's license). This electrician must then also be an Installation Electrician or a Master Installation Electrician.
Many of these "solar companies" engage in the illegal practice of subcontracting third-party electricians to issue CoCs. This practice undermines the validity of the CoC. Essentially, non-registered electrical contractor installation companies are prohibited from executing solar installations and subcontracting third-party electricians solely for CoC issuance. Such companies must have a full-time Registered Electrical Contractor employed who supervises and oversees the entire installation process, from commencement to conclusion.
Beware of electricians claiming to be Qualified Electricians or Red Seal Qualified, leading unsuspecting clients to believe they are authorized to install solar systems. They are not, and engaging them could jeopardize property insurance or bonds.
A red seal qualification is just one prerequisite among many before an individual becomes a Registered Person authorized to oversee and supervise solar installations and issue valid CoCs. Always check with SAPAC Professionals and Contractors Collective if the Electrician is indeed a Valid Electrician. Or obtain a qualified electrician from SAPAC.
What about the PV Green Card? Another misconception is that a solar installer who has obtained PV Green Card accreditation is allowed to install and issue a CoC for solar installations. This is not accurate. A PV Green Card accredited installer may only install a solar system and issue a CoC if they are a qualified registered electrician - (Installation Electrician or Master Installation Electrician) (with a wireman's license) and are registered as an electrical contractor with the Department of Labour. If a PV Green Card installer is not a registered electrician, they may NOT install the solar system.
"General control" implies that no individual may conduct installation work unless they do so under the supervision of a registered person or are themselves a registered person.
Who requires an electrical Certificate of Compliance?
Legally, it is mandatory for any individual to possess a valid CoC before advertising their property for sale. Estate agents are responsible for ensuring that property owners have a CoC when listing their property on the market. Accordingly both the "user" and "lessor" of the property must hold a valid certificate. Failure to possess one could potentially invalidate insurance policies or bonds when filing a claim.
The legal responsibility isn't solely placed on the property owner. If you are the user or lessor of the property and manage it without a valid certificate, you may expose yourself to a counterclaim from the property owner.
How long is a COC valid for?
Nevertheless, in cases where there is no transfer of ownership, a CoC remains valid for the duration of the installation's lifetime, with the exception of maintenance-related items. If any modifications have been made to the electrical installation, the owner or lessor must procure a supplementary CoC, as per clause 7(4), which stipulates: "Where any addition or alteration has been made to an electrical installation for which a certificate of compliance was previously issued, the user or lessor of such electrical installation shall obtain a certificate of compliance for at least the addition or alteration."
Who is allowed to issue a COC Electrical Certificate of Compliance
According to legal regulations, only a "Registered Person" is authorized to issue a Certificate of Compliance (CoC), and this can only occur subsequent to a comprehensive inspection and testing of the electrical installation.
You can check with South African Professionals and Contractors if the Electrician conforms to the Standards and Legal requirements for installing your Solar!
A "Registered Person" refers to a qualified registered electrical contractor who is an Installation Electrician or Master Installation Electrician that has proven their competence through various training programs and has successfully completed the "Unit Standard" testing process, as mandated by the Department of Labor (DoL). This process is necessary before the Department of Labor grants a Wireman's License.
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