New CEC Solar Install And Supervise Guidelines Kick In Soon

The Clean Energy Council’s Grid-Connected Solar PV Systems: Install and Supervise Guidelines for Accredited Installers – Version 13 come into play from the beginning of July.

One of the major changes in the latest version is the number of installations an accredited person can sign off per day has been reduced. An accredited person installing or supervising will only be able to sign off on up to:

  • Two complete installations per day.
  • One complete installation and no more than three upgrades/repairs per day.
  • Four system upgrades/repairs per day.

There are some exceptions – for example, where a project involves multiple solar power systems at one location that are installed in stages, a formal exemption can be sought that will allow for signoff on up to ten systems per day.

The Clean Energy Council says the reasoning for the changes is related to quality and safety.

“Data from previous audit regimes identified that there was a direct correlation between systems deemed to require rectification (sub-standard installation) and the number of systems signed off in one day.”

Whether it’s sitting in front of a computer in an office, or up on a rooftop installing solar panels; people under time pressure can be tempted to cut corners and be more prone to mistakes – and then there are those who are just greedy or simply don’t care.

Clean Energy Regulator Warns Registered Agents

On a related note, the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) has flagged these changes with Registered Agents, who are authorised to create the Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that form the basis of Australia’s major solar subsidy. It appears Registered Agents will be bearing a great deal of responsibility in monitoring this, as STC creation for systems that breach the above guidelines is not permitted.

“STCs that have been improperly created will be failed and subject to enforcement and/or administrative activity,” says the Regulator.

The Regulator says it closely monitors registered agents and installers to ensure compliance with CEC installation guidelines.

The CER states the new guidelines come into force on Saturday, June 29, but the CEC has the date as Monday, July 1. The full guidelines can be downloaded here.

Solar quality issues recently came under the spotlight in Australia via an ABC report on shonky solar1 that generated a lot of interest and concern. Some of the information in the ABC’s segment was drawn from an audit report published by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) last year.

As SQ’s Finn and Ronald have previously stated, another way to improve solar installation quality in Australia generally is a more robust solar power system inspection regime.

Finn also points out:

“If you refuse to buy the cheapest system on the market, do your research into panel brands, inverter brands and solar installation companies you are highly unlikely to get a low quality install.”

Footnotes

  1. The CEC’s final new guidelines were released in April – so well before the ABC report
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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