Solar installer convicted on false certificates scheme


An Australian solar installer has been convicted after a scheme to falsify the installation or supervision over 13 solar PV systems.

Aaron Ware, director of Pedley’s Electrical Services Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty this month in the Brisbane Magistrates Court, to 13 offences of making a false or misleading statement under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Ware was convicted and released on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Ware was investigated by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), with the results finding that between October 2018 and January 2020, Ware received a financial benefit by falsely claiming to have installed or supervised 13 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The CER found Ware was overseas at the time. A press release from the CER notes that “Ware submitted 13 false or misleading Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) assignment forms along with certificates of electrical safety to renewable energy certificate agents. The agents relied upon this information to improperly create 1,637 STCs for the solar PV systems. In return for the right to create these STCs, the agents paid Mr Ware in the order of $60,000.”

Ware has had his CEC accreditation cancelled, and Piet Powell, general manager of the CER’s Compliance Branch, said the CER continues to protect its schemes’ integrity by prosecuting and removing those who benefit from wilful fraud.

“The conduct investigated and prosecuted here predates the integrity review into rooftop solar and the CER’s campaign to raise awareness about installer attendance obligations,” said Powell.

“Those who now attempt to benefit from making false statements regarding STC eligibility can expect greater penalties than what Mr Ware received. We will continue to remove from the scheme those responsible for providing false and misleading information and, where appropriate, commence criminal prosecutions or civil penalty proceedings.”

The CER also noted in its press release that changes to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 provide the CER additional powers to disqualify installers and designers, retailers and component manufacturers from participating in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

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