CEC Warns On Looming Approved Solar Panel Listing Expiries

Approved solar panels listing

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More than half the currently listed solar modules on the CEC’s Approved Products List are scheduled to expire on February 1 next year.

While this doesn’t mean the panels will suddenly stop working on February 2, it does mean modules past the expiry date won’t be eligible for Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. STCs are the mechanism on which Australia’s “solar rebate” is based.

PV modules must be on the CEC approved product list at the time of installation to be eligible for STCs rather than just at the point of sale, which can sometimes be some weeks or even months before the modules are installed.

The Clean Energy Council is encouraging installers to manage their stock to ensure they are not left holding expired solar panels, and to be proactive with suppliers.

“Do not get caught out. Please double check the expiry date for any modules you are installing. If your modules are due to expire, check with your supplier on when they will be re-certified and re-approved.”

The Council has asked manufacturers and importers of PV modules set to expire soon to inform the CEC if they intend to continue selling their solar panels in Australia beyond February next year.

The CEC says listing approval usually takes around four weeks from application, but with so many panels to expire in just a few months, processing times may be longer.

The CEC approved solar panels list is huge – more than 6,900 different panels are currently listed. Last month, around two-thirds of all PV modules on the Approved Product List at that point had an expiry date of February 1 next year; so the number of affected panels has dropped significantly since that time.

Many of the soon-to-expire listings are also yet to be covered under revised terms and conditions implemented by the CEC in March 2016, however these are still eligible for STCs until the expiry date. New terms and conditions will also come into effect on 30 January 2018.

Under the newer T&C’s, modules undergo a tougher assessment and are subject to a tighter level of control over quality and compliance.

Another deadline for February 1, 2018 is all listed crystalline PV modules not covered under new T&Cs must demonstrate compliance with new versions of IEC 61215 and IEC 61730 standards.

All solar panels installed in Australia must be CEC listed as compliant with AS/NZS 5033 ‘Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays’, whether or not the subsidy is being sought.

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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