Australian Regulator Cracks Down on Non-Compliant Solar Panels
A discount solar supplier that has become Australia’s biggest rooftop panel vendor is being forced by the country’s Clean Energy Regulator to replace non-compliant modules it installed, or give up the small-scale technology certificates (STCs) it received for the projects.
“P & N NSW Pty Ltd., which trades as Euro Solar, was found by the CER to have claimed STCs from non-compliant panels on 10 different rooftop solar installations,” RenewEconomy reports. “In total, this amounted to 1,058 STCs worth around A$40,000.” The company has now been instructed to validate the serial numbers on solar modules in 78 installations over the next 12 months, and another 100 over the next 18.
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“We are rolling out an innovative compliance program that reaches out into the small-scale technology certificate (STC) creation chain to detect the installation of unapproved panels, which are not eligible for STCs,” the CER said in a statement. In this case, the company “did not identify, at the time of STC creation, that the solar PV panels were non-compliant.”
RenewEconomy notes that the CER action “is part of a crackdown on rules in the SRES [Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme], which provides up-front rebates for rooftop solar installations. To qualify for STCs, solar panels need to have been approved and validated by the Clean Energy Council.”
A RenewEconomy podcast goes into more detail on quality control issues in the rooftop solar industry. “There is even a Facebook page called ‘Crap Solar’, put together by installers appalled at instances of lousy workmanship,” writes editor Giles Parkinson. “This has implications for consumers which are worth noting.”