About Pat Southwell

Pat Southwell is a Licenced Electrical Inspector, solar installer and electrician based in metropolitan Melbourne who also travels all over regional Victoria. With experience as a Solar Victoria auditor, CER Inspector, and a background at the Clean Energy Council (CEC), Pat is well-known in the industry. He's a devoted family man, with five children, who enjoys playing park cricket in the summer.

Hidden Defects in Solar Battery Installations: What Inspectors Look For


battery install defects

Solar battery installation inspections are essential. They ensure systems are safe, compliant, and function optimally. [Read more…]

Four Things You Should Check Before Your Solar Installers Leave

Welcome back to our monthly chat. I’m Pat from Southwell Solar Inspections. In my line of work, I get to chat with system owners after the solar installation team has packed up and moved on. It’s a unique chance to hear how the system is running once the initial excitement has faded.
[Read more…]

Top 5 Solar Installation Mistakes From Not Reading The Instructions

The Electrician's Bible: AS3000. Section 4.1.2

Installing solar systems is more than just a job; it involves a deep understanding of numerous Australian standards and guidelines. Among these, AS3000 – The Australian Wiring Rules – stands out as the master standard for electrical work. Among a zillion other things, it mandates that all equipment installations adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. [Read more…]

From Sarking to Insulation: Hidden Solar Installation Blunders

When you get solar installed, any sub-standard work done in the roof cavity is hidden away — out of sight and out of mind — until the inevitable repercussions start to rear their ugly heads. [Read more…]

From Stink Pipes to Split Rafters: Avoid These Rooftop Solar Blunders

dented roof sheets

Think of me as a detective, but swap out crime scenes for rooftop and commercial solar setups. Here, the thrill isn’t in chasing down overt dangers but in uncovering the subtle, critical details often hidden in plain sight. It’s an adventure where precision meets the pursuit of an installation everyone can be proud of. [Read more…]

The Unseen Craftsmanship of A Good Solar Install: Array Cabling

residential solar panels in Australia

Did you know that a staggering 90% of solar installation defects are found on the roof? [Read more…]

Common Battery Installation Issues: Insights from an Electrical Inspector

As home battery systems start to go mainstream, the focus on the safety and compliance of these systems becomes ever more critical. In this post, I will navigate the complexities of grid-connected battery system installations, uncover common challenges installers face, and underscore the pivotal role of the Australian home battery standard: AS/NZS5139:2019. [Read more…]

Inverters Binned, Panels to Waste: The Harsh Reality of Solar Standards

solar panel installer with scrapped solar equipment

Pat Southwell is an Electrical Inspector, solar installer and electrician based in metropolitan Melbourne.

Picture this: Mike, a seasoned solar installer with over 15 years experience, is compelled to bin a perfectly functional solar system—inverter, panels and all—solely because of inflexible Australian Standards. [Read more…]

Make Solar Inspections Mandatory In NSW Before Tragedy Unfolds

Unsafe solar power system installation

Loose connection on the active conductor inside an AC isolator, evidence of heat damage.

There’s a big problem in Australia’s solar world. Despite ACT, TAS, and VIC inspecting all new rooftop solar power system installations, NSW, SA, WA and QLD don’t – and that’s playing with fire. [Read more…]

Why Solar Labels Matter: The Case For Quality Labelling

a solar power system safety label kit

Image: 1StopWarehouse

As a Licensed Electrical Inspector, I’ve seen heaps of solar power system setups. This month, let’s chat about something you might not consider important: solar labelling. It might sound boring, but trust me, how well it’s done often tells you a lot about the quality of the whole install. [Read more…]

Get The SolarQuotes Weekly Newsletter