The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) has ordered Euro Solar – the biggest solar panel retailer in Australia – to replace non-compliant units or surrender the related small-scale technology certificates (STCs) as part of its crackdown on STC compliance.
The CER found that P & N NSW Pty Ltd claimed STCs from non-compliant panels on a total of 10 different rooftop solar installations. This works out to a total of 1,058 STCs worth about $40,000.
Clean Energy regulator crackdown on STC compliance
The CER has been targeting non-compliant installations and will now scrutinise P & N for the next 18 months for STC compliance. The company has been asked to validate serial numbers for 78 installations within the next 12 months and for a further 100 installations within the next 18 months.
If the next raft of installations are found to be non-compliant, P & N must replace them or surrender the STCs if the owners do not want to replace them. If none of the installations are compliant, P & Y could face an STC bill of $500,000.
The CER says the move against P & N is part of a crackdown on rules in the SRES, which provides up-front rebates for rooftop solar installations. To qualify for STC compliance, solar panels need to have been approved and validated by the Clean Energy Council.
P & N has committed to validating the other installations and will report to the CER on a monthly basis. It will also fund the Clean Energy Regulator’s testing of four solar PV panels – randomly selected by the CER – held by P & N NSW Pty Ltd to determine whether the panels have the necessary attributes for accreditation or continuing accreditation.
STC compliance requires approval by the Clean Energy Council
The CER said it will continue to target non-compliant installations as part of its compliance program and that enforceable undertaking can be sought in cases to prevent or address serious non-compliance.
“Enforceable undertakings are written statements from a person or organisation that they will do, or refrain from doing, certain things in order to resolve detected contraventions or improve compliance with the legislation,” it says.
The intervention from the CER comes amid growing concerns within the industry about the standards and behaviours of some installers, the quality of some merchandise imported – such as solar panels and inverters – and the need for an awareness program for consumers.
The solar industry has been calling for a crackdown on poor quality installations, and more surveillance of solar panels – almost all of which are imported from overseas – to ensure they are compliant.
“The Clean Energy Regulator takes fraud and deliberate non-compliance seriously and takes necessary action to ensure the integrity of the scheme,” the CER said in its statement.
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