The auditing program, announced in late March but only recently outlined, is set to ensure the PV systems installed as part of Solar Homes are safe and of a high quality. “Auditing helps to hold solar retailers and installers to account,” says Solar Victoria, “…and develop a deeper understanding of how the program is being delivered by the fast-growing solar industry.”
The VIC Government has engaged independent auditors to follow up with the beneficiaries of the Solar Homes program to ensure PV systems are safely installed and any problems rectified. Additionally, before a PV system can be connected to the distribution network it will have to receive a Certificate of Electrical Safety (CES) from a licensed inspector.
Under Victorian law, the onus is on the solar retailers and installers to ensure their systems are installed properly, if retailers are found to be in shirking their duty they could be excluded from the Solar Homes program.
In a recent interview with pv-magazine Australia Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes stressed the importance of the focus on safety and quality in the second round of Solar Homes: “Having a high bar when it comes to practices inside the industry will only strengthen the industry and the outcomes for consumers over the long term.”
The rigour of the audit program is designed to assure the height of the bar of Solar Homes in its second round. Auditors will be checking the electrical safety of the installation, whether PV modules and inverters are approved products and their warranties are intact, that operation is proceeding as expected, the accreditation of installers, and following up with customers as to their experience with retailers and installers through the program.
After problems of oversubscription and a confusing customer interfaceleading to a temporary halt in the Solar Homes program, other measures have been put in place, in addition to the auditing program, to assure the success of the much-awaited second round. The VIC Government will now require installers to sign the Clean Energy Council’s Code of Conduct, and subsidy application processes have been simplified by putting them in the hands of the retailer rather than the householder.
The second round of the Solar Homes programbegins on July 1.
Solar Homes participants will be contacted by auditors to arrange an appropriate time for visitation.
Author: Blake Matich