The Clean Energy Regulator continues to support Renewable Energy Target participants by improving processes to reduce regulatory burden while maintaining the integrity of certificate entitlements.
Expanding solar panel validation initiative
The solar panel validation initiative allows installers to verify the panels being installed on households are eligible under Australian standards for quality and performance.
During 2019 we introduced the fast track system for agents submitting claims
for small-scale technology certificates where they used solar panel validation.
At the end of 2019 there were 35 brands of solar PV panels participating in solar panel validation, an increase from 10 brands in 2018.
Manufacturer participation in solar panel validation has reached a new record;
approximately 95 per cent of solar PV panels associated with small-scale technology certificate claims under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme can be verified using the solar panel validation. We
are seeing a lower rate of errors (25 per cent less) in small-scale technology certificate claims for solar systems where SPV is used compared to non-solar panel validation claims. Agents are benefiting from significant savings, reduced effort and streamlined processes from using solar panel validation with their certificate claims.
At the time of writing, the solar panel validation initiative is used to validate 50 per cent
Simplifying small-scale technology certificate claim process for supporting documentation
During the small-scale technology certificates claim process, agents may be required to provide additional
documentation to support their claim. This has been completed via a manual process outside of the REC Registry system.
In 2019, a new document upload functionality was released in the REC Registry. This new functionality allows agents to upload supporting documents directly into the REC Registry. This functionality also supports the manual pathway for solar panel serial number verification.
The document upload enhancement has saved agents time and effort and
reduced small-scale technology certificates processing times.
This functionality provides an alternative pathway to solar panel validation, allowing small- scale technology certificate claims to be submitted with manual evidence of verified solar panel serial numbers.
However, claims submitted with manual evidence will not be processed through the fast track system.
Guidance on fast-tracking accreditation applications
The growing market for mid-scale solar PV installations has resulted in new participants under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target who were not aware of the requirements for accreditation.
Mid-scale solar PV applications make up the majority of the applications under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target. The large number of incomplete applications was resulting in processing delays for all participants seeking accreditation.
In 2019 an accreditation checklist was released in the REC Registry that defines the information and documentary requirements for an application to be “properly made” under the Act.
The upfront availability of required information for accreditation has assisted in improving the number of
complete mid-scale solar PV applications under the Large- scale Renewable Energy Target. Consequently, applications have been processed faster, ensuring that participants can be accredited and subsequently secure entitlements under the scheme in a timely manner.
Enhanced compliance program to verify large- scale generation certificates
In 2019 the Clean Energy Regulator completed its compliance program to provide additional assurance over
claims made by nominated persons for large-scale generation certificates. Under this program, information was sourced directly from metering data providers, or other custodians of metered electricity data, to verify previous claims made for large-scale generation certificates.
The Clean Energy Regulator did not identify any cases of non-compliance under the program, providing ongoing assurance over the integrity of the scheme.
The program results allow further work to continue to increase the efficiency of submitting large-scale generation certificates,
including through new bulk creation functionality.
Investigations into fraudulently created small- scale technology certificates
The Clean Energy Regulator retains a zero tolerance for fraudulently created small-scale technology certificates. In 2019 we enhanced our data matching capabilities allowing the identification of some installers that had falsely claimed to have conducted solar installations when they were not present. The Clean Energy Regulator has continued to widen its investigations to a larger group of accredited Clean Energy Council installers who may have been involved in this at-risk behaviour.
One investigation led by the Clean Energy Regulator resulted in a 48 year old Wagga Wagga man being sentenced to an 18 month Good Behaviour Bond and fined $5,000 by the Wagga Wagga local court.
We have disclosed relevant information from our investigations to the Clean Energy Council and the relevant state and territory electrical safety regulators and fair-trading bodies.
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