The Clean Energy Regulator, the Commonwealth government agency responsible for overseeing Australia’s rooftop solar schemes, will now permit installations to be completed by different installers, as long as each installer is accredited and the agency is notified.
From April 1, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) began requiring installers to take “selfie photographs” to prove they were present at the beginning, middle and end of each job. This stepped up compliance regime was in response to a government review of the integrity of the rooftop solar sector in Australia published last year.
Whether the implications of this photo proof has led to today’s announcement isn’t clear but CER did note when it is “not reasonable” for the same Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installer to complete the job they began, it can ultimately be signed off by another accredited installer.
This change is accompanied by set of conditions, outlined by CER:
CER has been ramping up its prosecutions of installers fraudulently creating Small-scale Technology Certificates, or STCs, which form the basis of what is effectively Australia’s rooftop solar subsidy.
Just last week, it announced Canberra installer B and J Finnigan Pty Ltd (trading as A1 Electrical) had been convicted and fined $9,000 after it was discovered its sole director, Bradley Finnigan, was overseas at the time he said he was supervising installations.
In May, CER also executed search warrants on three Perth addresses connected to a WA installation company. The search warrants were part of its investigation into whether the company had fabricated information about who installed almost 550 solar panel installations.
The crackdown is part of CER’s takeover as the sole regulator of the sector, bringing with it a new suite of oversight tools.
CER is also in the process of finding a new accreditation body for the solar industry. Before March 31, 2023, it will open up applications to decide who will take over responsibility for solar accreditation from CEC.
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