A Busy Year For Australia’s Clean Energy Council

Clean Energy Council - solar compliance

Panel image: markusspiske

2018 was another big year for the CEC as it continued in its efforts to enforce compliance and helping ensure the ongoing integrity of Australia’s solar energy industry.

The Clean Energy Council is the peak body for Australia’s clean energy industry. Among its functions are the accreditation of solar installers and maintaining lists of approved solar modules, inverters and battery storage products.

In a recent installer news update, the Council said 246 solar panel models and 72 inverters were de-listed through its testing program during this year. Additionally, just shy of 4,600 module listings expired and were not renewed as new international standards and other terms and conditions came into force.

The most recent major cull was on December 1, when the number of approved PV modules plummeted from 3,296 on November 30 to just 1,725 the following day. Just over a year ago (November 2017), there were 6,790 models on the Approved Products List, so there’s been a reduction of nearly 75% since that time.

Panels and inverters used in solar power systems must be on the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Products Lists at the time of installation in order to qualify for Australia’s major subsidy, often referred to as the “solar rebate“.

Solar Installer Compliance

The CEC says 10,451 demerit points were allocated to 590 installers in 2018. With 5,000+ installers across the country (many of them listed in SQ’s solar installer reviews section), this figure represents around 11% of installers having been pinged for something this year.

Demerits can be issued for issues as minor (i.e. considered low risk) as interconnectors not being the same make and model (1 demerit point), through to very serious faults such as insecure solar power system mounting structure (10 demerit points). If an installer accumulates 20 or more demerit points within a 24-month period, this results in the suspension of the installer’s accreditation.

Demerit points issued this year led to 73 suspensions and five accreditation cancellations. Cancellation can occur for reasons including an installer receiving three suspensions within a three-year period – and the road back to accreditation is a long one.

More information on the demerit points system, accreditation suspensions and cancellations can be viewed here.

As well as compliance related activities, the CEC also met with more than a thousand system designers and installers at 13 Installer Nights in 10 cities around Australia this year. Eight CEC webinars covering various industry issues were attended by more than 1,980 and the All-Energy Australia Conference and Exhibition attracted 8,000 attendees – its biggest year to date.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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