Clean Energy Regulator To Visit SRES Registered Agents

Clean Energy Regulator

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As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure compliance among agents creating small-scale technology certificates within the REC Registry, Clean Energy Regulator representatives will be paying a visit to registered agents across the country from next month.

Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) form the basis of Australia’s major solar subsidy, the value of which fluctuates with market conditions. The number of certificates a solar power system is eligible for depends on its size and where in Australia it is installed. The certificate value is usually traded for a point-of-sale discount on a system and factored into solar quotes, then the certificates are created by a registered agent once the system is installed.

Whether particular agents are being targeted for specific reasons isn’t clear. The Regulator says the purpose of the visits will be to relay its compliance expectations and to gain a better understanding of how their businesses operate.

 “Agents are critical to the integrity of the SRES. Agents must apply reasonable due diligence when dealing with third parties and have compliance procedures in place to ensure that they meet their legislative obligations and the expectations of a fit and proper participant,” says the Regulator.

​The expected capabilities and standards of practice the Regulator considers essential for agents in order to participate in the SRES can be found here.

These visits will be the latest in a series of actions relating to the management and monitoring of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). Last year, the Regulator announced a crackdown on the improper creation of STCs and wound up claiming a couple of significant scalps in incidents involving thousands of certificates.

The agents to be visited in April and May will be notified in the coming weeks.

With certain Coalition backbenchers (e.g. Tony Abbott and Craig Kelly) calling for solar subsidies to be reduced/axed, pressure is on Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg to fiddle with the Small-scale Technology Percentage (STP). Given the current circumstances,  maintaining the high level of integrity of the SRES is becoming an even more important issue, lest Mssrs. Abbott and Kelly are given something else to seize on – and perhaps blow out of proportion as they’ve been known to do on renewable energy issues.

Established in 2012, the Clean Energy Regulator is a Government body responsible for administering the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme, Renewable Energy Target and the Emissions Reduction Fund. It is an independent statutory authority and operates as part of the Environment portfolio.

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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