Solar Panel Validation Initiative Update

Solar panel validation - Australia

Australia’s Solar Panel Validation Initiative (SPV) is another weapon being used in the battle against crap solar – and appears to be progressing well.

The Clean Energy Regulator’s Solar Panel Validation program ensures modules used in an installation are genuine, are backed by warranty, meet standards and are eligible for Australia’s “solar rebate”. It also expedites claims for small scale technology certificates (STCs), on which the solar rebate is based.

Validation is achieved through a mobile app used to scan solar panel serial numbers just prior to installation, and this information is checked against a database to ensure the numbers correspond to those verified by the Clean Energy Council. Validation occurs within seconds of the information being sent.

SPV is currently a voluntary program, but solar panel manufacturers have been keen to sign on as it helps to protect their brand reputation – unfortunately, re-badging of crap solar panels with a respected brand name has been known to occur. When we last reported on the SPV initiative in late July, 15 solar panel manufacturers were participating. That list has now grown to 21 and can be found here.

According to a recent update from Clean Energy Regulator Chair David Parker AM, 70% of solar panels installed and reported can be verified under SPV, with another 18% being on-boarded.

“SPV supports the industry’s reputation for supplying a quality product and increasing consumer confidence,” states Mr. Parker.

SPV Reduces Risk

The CER says participating in the initiative minimises the risk to companies and installers of buying, selling and installing unapproved solar panels and helps protect against potential financial penalty and reputational damage that may result from doing so.

In addition to protecting solar buyers and installers, STC claims submitted using SPV are being processed within 24 hours. While those lodged without SPV aren’t assumed to be non-genuine, they are subject to more scrutiny – and that will only increase.

“As we get more SPV backed claims and fewer non-SPV claims the additional scrutiny on non-SPV claims could be expected to take around 2 weeks longer,” Mr. Parker states.

An upcoming new feature for the program will be a framework allowing retailers and solar installers to use the Solar Panel Validation Initiative logo.

“My message is simple,” says Mr. Parker. ” If you are not yet using SPV it may be to your commercial advantage to do so, and now is a great time to think seriously about it.”

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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