Another Solar Panel Validation (SPV) Milestone Reached

Solar panel validation

An initiative launched to provide assurance of the eligibility of solar panels for Australia’s national solar subsidy continues to power ahead.

The Clean Energy Regulator led Solar Panel Validation (SPV) scheme provides a simple means to check if solar panels to be used in an installation are genuine and eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), on which Australia’s solar rebate is based.

Validation is performed by the installer using a phone app to scan solar panel serial numbers just prior to installation. The numbers are checked against a database to ensure they match information verified by the Clean Energy Council. The initiative helps protect consumers, installers, manufacturers and the integrity of Australia’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

There’s other powerful motivation for solar businesses to use the app. Solar buyers benefit from STCs as a point of sale discount, but the STCs cannot be generated, claimed and then sold by the business or its agent until after the installation. STC claims with verified solar panels are typically processed in 24 hours, whereas those with panels not verified may be subject to closer scrutiny – and increasingly lengthy delays; currently 4 – 6 weeks.

From 5% To 50% In A Year

SPV began general rollout in 2018 after a successful pilot program. At that point, just 8 solar panel manufacturers were participating. By this time last year around 15 manufacturers had joined the initiative and approximately 5 per cent of STC claims used SPV.

There are 43 module manufacturers on board at the time of writing and according to the Regulator more than 50 per cent of STC claims are now submitted using SPV.

“This increase is driven by more accredited installers and registered agents using SPV to help protect their business and provide their customers with confidence that the product they are receiving is genuine,” states the Regulator. “Over 95 per cent of solar panels eligible under the SRES can be verified using SPV, with further solar panel brands seeking to be added to the list of over 40 currently participating brands.”

The use of SPV became mandatory as of today in Victoria for eligibility for that state’s Solar Homes program.

If you’re having solar installed and the panels are from a brand listed here *and* your installer uses SPV – which might be something worth checking when choosing a solar company – ask for a copy of the record after the solar panels are validated and then you can rest easy knowing they are what you paid for.

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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