As more homeowners withdraw from the grid and install alternative or renewable energy systems into their homes such as solar panels, there is a bit of confusion about electrical certificates and whether they are required for these systems when buying or selling property.

How does solar fit into electrical certificate regulations?

Electrical certificates are regulated by the Electrical Installation Regulations. The Regulations provide that every user or lessor of an electrical installation must have a valid certificate. When a property is sold, the owner must provide the buyer with an electrical certificate that is not older than two years.

The Regulations explicitly make provision for electrical certificates, however, what happens in instances where property is powered by solar panels? Does solar energy fall within the ambit of the definition of “electrical installation”? Is an electrical certificate still required?

The legal definitions of an electrical installation

The Regulations define “electrical installation” as any machinery, in or on any premises, used for the transmission of electricity from a point of control to a point of consumption anywhere on the premises, including any article forming part of such an electrical installation irrespective of whether or not it is part of the electrical circuit, but excluding –

(a)         any machinery of the supplier related to the supply of electricity on the premises;

(b)         any machinery which transmits electrical energy in communication,

(c)          control circuits, television or radio circuits;

(d)         an electrical installation on a vehicle, vessel, train or aircraft; and

(e)         control circuits of 50 V or less between different parts of machinery or system components, forming a unit, that are separately installed and derived from an independent source or an isolating transformer.

Solar is not precluded in the electrical installation definition

For purposes of this article, it is only important to note that there is nothing in this definition that will preclude solar panel control circuits from being an “electrical installation”. Therefore, it would appear that a compliance certificate will still be a requirement in instances where solar power is used.

Furthermore, the prescribed certificate of compliance as provided in the Regulations generally include solar panel installations.

Obtain a certificate of compliance for your solar energy installation

Without much certainty in this regard, it would be beneficial for the Regulations to be updated accordingly. In the interim, however, a reasonable inference may be drawn that compliance certificates should be obtained in instances of solar power being used.

Speak to a conveyancing expert

Our Conveyancing and Property Law team at Abrahams & Gross has considerable expertise and experience with all matters related to buying or selling your property, including what compliance certificates are required for homeowners, or when considering leasing commercial or industrial property. Contact our friendly and knowledgeable attorneys today for assistance.  

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The articles on these web pages are provided for general information purposes only. Whilst care has been taken to ensure accuracy, the content provided is not intended to stand alone as legal advice. Always consult a suitably qualified attorney on any specific legal problem or matter.