CEC Flags Solar Panel “Expiry Date” Deadline

CEC solar panel expiry reminder

Solar panel image Stocksnap

While there’s no best-before or use-by dates for solar panels, there is an expiry date on PV modules that impacts on eligibility for Australia’s solar rebate.

In order for a solar power system to be eligible for Australia’s major solar subsidy, which is based on Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), the solar panels and inverter used need to be on the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Products Lists at the time of installation.

Maintaining a listing changes for manufacturers and importers as the bar is lifted on solar panel quality and new standards, terms and conditions are implemented. For example, all solar panels will need to comply with¬† IEC 61215:2016 by December 1 this year and modules that don’t will be de-listed.¬†Regardless of any other changes, CEC listing of equipment must be renewed every three years.

Currently, there are more than 2,750 models on the approved solar panel list. According to to the Clean Energy Council, more than half the currently listed modules are scheduled to expire on December 1.¬† The CEC says manufacturers and importers shouldn’t leave the approval process until the last minute as processing is expected to take longer than the usual 4 weeks from date of application given the number of modules involved. Additionally, all new applications will be required to re-list per the CEC’s current terms and conditions.

“It is critical that the modules are on the list at the date of installation or no STCs will be payable,” says the CEC. “Do not get caught out.”

The CEC is urging installers to check expiries on inventory they have. If panels are among those facing the December deadline and there’s the potential for some of that stock still being on hand in December, they should then push their suppliers regarding the re-listing situation.

The potential major cull in December won’t be the first. In November last year we mentioned there were 6,790 models listed at that point in time; so in just over 7 months around 4,000 models have been removed from the approved products list.

Some manufacturers and importers won’t bother with re-listing in cases where modules are no longer being produced, but the exercise should also result in a list with better proportion of high quality products.

Like trying to shop for biscuits at a major supermarket these days, sometimes too much choice isn’t a good thing .

For those with systems already installed, a panel or inverter model no longer being listed doesn’t present any problems; assuming it hasn’t been de-listed due to safety issues. Plenty will disappear as models are no longer produced or exported to Australia. The CEC has been publicly announcing safety related de-listings in recent times and we usually cover those announcements here on SolarQuotes.

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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