source: Clean Energy Regulator
Taskforce targets Clean Energy Council accredited installers making false written statements
The Clean Energy Regulator has established a taskforce to target installers accredited by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) who make false statements in relation to small-scale technology certificate (STC) eligibility.
The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme provides a material financial incentive for the installation of solar PV systems, approximately one third of the system cost. For the installed system to be eligible, in addition to complying with state and territory electrical safety laws, the system must be installed or its installation physically supervised, by a CEC accredited installer who makes a number of important statements of eligibility that registered agents should scrutinise when creating STCs and that the Clean Energy Regulator must be able to rely on when approving STCs.
Rules and requirements for accredited installers
The CEC’s install and supervise guidelines for accredited installers stipulate than an accredited person must only sign off on solar photovoltaic (PV) systems where they have installed the system themselves or supervised the installation by others. If the accredited person is supervising the installation by others, they must physically attend the site during job set up, for the mid-installation check-up and for testing and commissioning.
These guidelines are mandatory requirements that must be met for an installation to be eligible for STCs.
Actions targeting installers making false written statements
The Clean Energy Regulator has a sophisticated analytical model to identify installers deemed unlikely to have been on-site in accordance with CEC requirements, and will be commencing investigations based on this model.
The Clean Energy Regulator will be increasing its scrutiny of STC claims submitted by registered agents to ensure compliance with eligibility requirements.
Registered agent responsibilities and expectations
To be eligible to create STCs, registered agents must obtain a written statement from the CEC accredited installer that they have complied with the CEC’s code of conduct and therefore conformed with CEC install and supervise guidelines concerning an installer’s attendance at the installation site.
The Clean Energy Regulator expects registered agents to implement and maintain sound compliance procedures to establish that CEC accredited installers were on-site during installations in accordance with CEC guidelines. Registered agents must comply with their legal obligations and should ensure that checks are conducted as part of a their standard compliance procedures. Registered agents should not create STCs where the CEC accredited installer named in the form has not met their obligations with respect to their attendance at the installation site.
The Clean Energy Regulator will increase its scrutiny of agents’ conduct by requiring agents to provide the documents they relied on to create STCs; including documents demonstrating that the CEC accredited installer named in the claim was on-site and met requirements. Where those documents are not provided, the Clean Energy Regulator may refuse to register the related STCs. Agents who fail to follow the installation requirements and adequately check the information given to them by installers may also have their registration and REC Registry account suspended, as well as expose themselves to criminal prosecution and civil sanctions.
The provision of false or misleading information, including the provision of false written statements of STC eligibility, is an offence under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and penalties may apply.
Information demonstrating a CEC accredited installer attended the site of installation in accordance with the CEC guidelines could include photographic identification of the accredited installer (with time and date metadata or geo-location data) during installation job set-up, mid-installation check-up, and testing and commissioning stages.
Over 73% of STC claims currently use the application based solar panel validation (SPV) system to reduce the risk of the installation of ineligible solar panels and the improper creation of STCs. Applications used in the SPV may provide photo and geo-location capability to assist installers demonstrate that they attended the site at the job set up, mid-installation check-up and the testing and commissioning of the installation.
Registered agents and installers are encouraged to speak to application providers to explore the use of applications to demonstrate installers complied with CEC guidelines.
Read CEC accredited installers on notice to be on-site for sign-off of solar PV system installations for further information.