source: Clean Energy Regulator
Trina Solar (Australia) enter enforceable undertaking with the CER
Some anomalies have been found in data provided by Trina Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd (Trina Solar) to the Solar Panel Validation (SPV) verification service. Trina Solar is actively working on resolving this.
As a result, Trina Solar has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) in relation to Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) claims where the solar panels were not eligible.
The intent of this EU is that Trina Solar will bear responsibility for rectification of “ineligible” solar panels where the serial numbers were uploaded into the SPV verification service. “Ineligible” modules are not compliant with the CEC Terms and Conditions for listing solar panels on the CEC approved PV module list and therefore not eligible for STCs. Rectification will include replacement of the panels where the owner agrees, otherwise surrender of the STCs.
The CER is working directly with Trina Solar and will not be pursuing any compliance action with others in the supply chain, such as REC Agents, Solar PV retailers and installers in relation to any solar panels that Trina Solar or the CER identify as ineligible and where the serial numbers had been at some time in the SPV verification service.
The CER is not aware of any quality or warranty concerns with Trina Solar panels. However, the EU requires Trina Solar to provide assurance on this to the CER and customers. This will be supported by compliance testing if necessary.
Noting the EU, the CER will continue to process STC claims involving Trina Solar panels. This includes all SPV applications through the fast track SPV process. Other important context is that many STC claims submitted at present are for installations that have occurred some time ago and Trina Solar is actively working on resolving data it has provided to SPV.
- If the STC claims used SPV and the solar panels have passed SPV verification, the claim will be passed within 24 hours, subject to meeting all other criteria.
- If Trina Solar later determine the panels are ineligible, the CER will resolve the matter with Trina Solar as per the terms of the EU.
- If the STC claim comes through without using SPV and the serial numbers were included in any version of data Trina Solar provided to the SPV verification service, the STC claim will be passed, subject to meeting all criteria.
- If Trina Solar or the CER later determine some panels are ineligible, the CER will resolve the matter with Trina Solar as per the terms of the EU.
- Any non SPV applications involving Trina Solar panels will be processed in normal non SPV processing times.
- Non SPV STC claims involving Trina Solar panels may expect a higher failure rate if ineligible panels have been installed and the serial numbers were never in the verification service. We are unable to give guidance on what that failure rate might be.
- Where the CER forms a view that Trina Solar panels in non SPV STC claims are ineligible and have never been added to the SPV verification service, we will offer the Agent the option of the application being put ‘on hold’ (as opposed to being failed) should they seek time to obtain further proof from Trina Solar that the panels involved are compliant with the CEC Terms and Conditions for listing panels on the CEC approved PV module list.
Please note, the CER is pursuing further discussions with Trina Solar with respect to ineligible Trina Solar panels that were never included in any version of data Trina Solar provided to the SPV verification service. We will advise further on this matter. The primary focus of this current EU is incorrect data in the verification service. The CER has the view that all parties in the supply chain must be able to rely on the accuracy of data provided to the SPV verification service. Parties buying panels that are not in the SPV verification service should do their own due diligence on whether the individual panels are on the CEC approved modules list and ensure they have contracted for individual modules that are eligible for STCs.
Stock of Trina Solar panels not yet installed
If you are holding Trina Solar panels that have not yet been installed, we recommend you contact Trina Solar to satisfy yourself that the panels are compliant with the CEC Terms and Conditions for listing panels on the CEC approved PV modules list before installing them.
If you are an installer using an SPV app
- If the app verifies the panel serial numbers, you can proceed to install them and the STC claims will be passed as outlined above.
- If the app fails the panels, you should not install them and return the panels to Trina Solar to be replaced if the modules have been purchased from Trina Solar as CEC compliant and eligible for STCs.
The CER will issue progressive updates on this issue as any key developments arise and will publish Frequently Asked Questions based on common calls we may receive.
General advice on purchasing solar panels where there is an intention to make STC claims
For clarity, solar panels that are not on the CEC approved module list can be sold in Australia. However, these are not eligible for STC claims under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). Under most state and territory electrical safety laws the panels must meet Australian Standards; for this reason, if not claiming STCs, buyers still need to satisfy themselves they are obtaining evidence that the panels meet Australian Standards.
All participants who purchase solar panels where the intention is to claim STCs should make sure this is clear in writing to the seller; and they should obtain normal commercial undertakings in writing from the seller (regardless of whether the seller is the manufacturer or an intermediary) that the panels supplied are on CEC approved module list. They should also satisfy themselves of the likelihood they are contracting with a solid counterparty who can and will honour any warranties or guarantees; and that the entity involved is an Australian entity and subject to Australian consumer laws.
This advice is general in nature and participants should make sure their purchasing/contracting is commercially prudent and clear on the damages if panels are sold as suitable for STC claims and are not listed on, or compliant with, the CEC approved module list– and therefore not fit for purpose.
The CER is unable to enter into any disputes between buyers and sellers of solar panels.
The CER takes compliance with the law seriously. We will take legal action against anyone who knowingly commits Commonwealth fraud or aids, abets, counsels or procures the improper creation of STCs. This includes the provision and use of false information.