Solar Accreditation Australia Named As The New Accreditation Scheme Operator

Solar Accreditation Australia

Australia’s rooftop solar industry underwent another transformation on 29th February with the emergence of a new accreditation scheme operator, Solar Accreditation Australia (SAA).

It marks a departure from the co-regulation system led by the Clean Energy Council (CEC), paving the way for the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) to assume a more prominent role as the sole regulator in the industry.

Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, CER has approved Solar Accreditation Australia as an independent, not-for-profit body for solar installation and design accreditation. CEC’s accreditation services have ceased, and SAA’s accreditation scheme is now in effect.

More Than Just A Name Change

The transition from the CEC to SAA signifies more than just a name change; it represents a concerted effort to address challenges in regulatory enforcement in the industry. While the CEC has been the ASO (Accredited Scheme Operator) for over a decade, it faced limitations in enforcing regulations without the statutory investigation powers of a Commonwealth regulator, as highlighted in the 2021 Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector.

Stephen Robertson, Chair of SAA: “This is a significant milestone in our shared commitment to enhancing standards, transparency and accountability across the solar energy sector. Today marks the beginning of a new era for Australia’s dedicated and highly skilled solar installers and designers, with the launch of an independent, not-for-profit and single-purpose entity to support compliance and raise standards across the industry. SAA is committed to ensuring integrity, accountability and responsible practices within our industry.”

How To Make The Accreditation Switch

Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), accredited installers and designers have a three-month window to transition to SAA to maintain eligibility for small-scale technology certificates (STCs). This transition period, supported by the CEC and the CER, aims to ensure a smooth handover process for industry stakeholders and consumers.

Accredited solar installers and designers can find information on how to make the switch on the CEC, SAA, and CER websites.

ASO transfer

Accredited solar installers and designers can transfer to SAA in 3 steps. Image: CER

What Does This Mean For Consumers?

SAA’s emergence hopefully signifies further compliance and quality assurance for consumers demanding reliable and high-quality solar installations. The change has certainly been welcomed by some key industry bodies, with a joint media release from The Smart Energy Council and Master Electricians Australia.

Master Electricians Australia President Peter Matthews said, “We are pleased to support the creation of a new independent solar designer and installer accreditation service provider.”

 

“The industry wanted to see a collaborative whole-of-industry approach to accreditation delivered by a separate and independent body. That is what Solar Accreditation Australia is delivering today to support the federal government’s ongoing commitment to program integrity,” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council.

About Kim Wainwright

A solar installer and electrician in a previous life, Kim has been blogging for SolarQuotes since 2022. He enjoys translating complex aspects of the solar industry into content that the layperson can understand and digest. He spends his time reading about renewable energy and sustainability, while simultaneously juggling teaching and performing guitar music around various parts of Australia. Read Kim's full bio.

Comments

  1. Mark Ceccato says

    Hey Team,

    I have been in contact with SAA via email as their check if an installer is accredited section of their website was down, this is now operational.

    SAA have advised that when checking an accreditation number is will only confirm if that installer is accredited, it will not show which company they work for which used to be shown on the CEC installers website.

    This is huge disadvantage for customer as roughly 90% of solar companies tell customers they employ all their own installers in house when only roughly 15% actually do. By having the ability to check this externally it gives the customer a much better insight into the company they are dealing with and the benefits associated, such as ongoing serice and support.

    It would be greatly appreciated if you could also highlight this to SAA as a crucial feature to help customers make an informed decision about their solar purchase as my requests are falling on deaf ears. Im sure you will agree being able to access accurate information should be available for customers buying any product in any industry.

    Thanks, Mark Ceccato

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