Code of conduct for solar installers in the works

10th Jul 2013

Consumers may be about to benefit from a code of conduct for the solar PV installation industry.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is considering giving a five-year authorisation to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) for a code outlining industry standards. 

What does this mean exactly? Well, the CEC already holds certain powers when it comes to penalising installers that do a shoddy job.

Businesses that fail to meet Australian standards could land themselves in hot water, as the CEC is in charge of providing accreditation to solar PV companies.

However, retailers that sub-contract installers are not covered by any mandatory standards other than the usual consumer protection laws.

The code, which is voluntary to sign up to, is designed to provide more protection for those that purchase solar power systems.

Michael Schaper, ACCC deputy chair, said: "The purchase of solar PV systems is generally a one off but can be complicated and may involve dealing with a number of different parties.

"The code will promote consumer confidence in the PV sector by providing consumers with information to assist in purchasing decisions and also promote compliance by PV retailers through sanctions and public reporting mechanisms."

Once the ACCC is satisfied that the code will bring more benefits to the public than potential detriments, authorisation can be granted.

The code has been drafted by a number of industry organisations and includes obligations such as:

• Observing cooling-off periods and refunds
• Providing consumers with adequate information
• A standard five-year warranty on solar power systems
• Being fully accountable for sub-contracted parties
• Not carrying out misleading or dishonest sales tactics
• Keeping customers fully informed on the process between installing the system and subsequent network connection

Posted by Mike Peacock

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