Taylor’s Australian Rooftop Solar Sector Review – Update

Australian rooftop solar investigation

The terms of reference for an inquiry into Australia’s rooftop solar PV sector were released by the Clean Energy Regulator on Friday.

The review was announced by Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor back in August; with Minister Taylor citing integrity, quality and safety concerns. The Clean Energy Regulator was charged with the task of carrying out the investigation, and will be supported by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

What Will The Inquiry Cover?

In summary, issues that will come under scrutiny as part of the review include:

  • The effectiveness of the Clean Energy Council’s accreditation process for and ongoing compliance of installers.
  • The effectiveness of the approval process for and ongoing compliance of key components such as solar panels and inverters.
  • The effectiveness of the SRES legislative framework and processes in relation to compliance of solar retailers and installers.
  • The protection of solar buyers against shonky sales tactics (including financing) and installation practices.
  • Potential amendments to the SRES regulatory framework and processes to improve integrity, accountability and consumer protection measures.

The full terms of reference are here.

The SRES is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is the mechanism that provides Australia’s PV subsidy, aka the solar rebate.

In August, the Clean Energy Council said it welcomed the inquiry, but that it would be “deeply concerned” if it turned out to be part of campaign to reduce support for renewable energy, such as that occurred in 2015 under the Abbott Government. The Regulator has stressed this investigation is not a review of the subsidy.

How Long Will The Inquiry Take?

The process is expected to take 2 months – which isn’t a lot of time given the areas and issues to be covered. This being the case, the Regulator won’t be formally calling for public submissions, but information on experiences with the rooftop solar PV sector can be submitted. The CER notes it will not be resolving specific consumer issues or complaints.

While it will be some months before the review’s recommendations are made and implemented, the best protection for solar power system buyers is to arm themselves with solid information – and SQ has plenty of that. For example, check out our Solar101 guide and SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock’s book – The Good Solar Guide; free to read in its entirety online. Our solar installer reviews database is also a great tool for information on businesses prospective PV buyers are considering for their installation.

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.

Comments

  1. I am wondering whether the National Audit Office(?) will be conducting an investigation into the campaign of fraud and embezzlement by the most powerful criminal organisation in Australia, against the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA.

    • Denis Cartledge says

      Yes, that’s definitely on the Agenda.

      Just after the AFP have checked on the Tooth Fairy’s whereabouts. You can’t be too sure of where those “terrists” will pop up, can you. 😉

  2. And, regarding things that need an investigation into their criminality, read the article at
    https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2020/10/07/cec-joins-growing-crowd-slamming-federal-budget-2020/

    especially, the embezzlement of public money to line the pockets of LNP donors.

  3. And, regarding my last previous posting above, because the LNP donor being repaid through the embezzlement, owns a coal fired power station that is one of the extra ones being funded by the feral government, the ALP, being part of the coal companies’ subsidiary, will wholeheartedly support the embezzlement in the budget.

    It is unfortunate that the feral parliament consists only of the LNP/ALP COALition and their cronies.

  4. Des Scahill says

    I’ve just read with some interest this article on ‘WeatherZone’, which deals at some length with the action to be taken by the Bundaberg local council regarding impacts from rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events.

    https://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/flood-levee-planned-for-bundaberg-streets-could-sink-property-prices-for-those-on-wrong-side-of-wall/532633

    Basically, the council intends building a levee, which will more or less split the central business area in half, aimed at holding the rising sea level at bay. Storm surges from sundry extreme weather events are already a problem.

    Those properties and businesses on the ocean side of the levee are – in effect – being abandoned, and thus will have no value whatsoever. Although those affected will receive ‘compensation’ its not clear whether this will be sufficient for many.

    Understandably, those businesses and properties affected are very unhappy with the decision. There are some other alternatives that could be followed, which cost considerably less.

    But, to their credit, at least the Bundaberg Council is attempting to ‘do something’, albeit belatedly

    Climate change has NOT gone away, even though both politicians and large numbers of people in the overall population have allowed themselves to be somewhat diverted by COVID-19 issues.

    I’d suggest that it could be wise to forget the ‘ambitious’ ‘CO2 neutral’ scenarios by year 2060 or whenever. Polar ice at both poles is melting far quicker than expected ( up to 10 times faster in some places – see https://metro.co.uk/2019/04/29/record-melting-at-the-worlds-largest-ice-shelf-is-terrifying-climate-experts-9345714/ ). To that is of course added the melting of ice on mountain ranges such as the Himalayas.

    I share the concerns of the CEC that the upcoming enquiry could turn out to be ‘part of campaign to reduce support for renewable energy, such as that occurred in 2015 under the Abbott Government.’.

    I’m not suggesting the Committee won’t do its job properly, however some politicians may be inclined to selectively quote items in their report that could be construed as being supportive of their particular agenda.

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