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A milestone for the Solar Panel Validation pilot

22 September 2017

The Clean Energy Regulator has reached an exciting milestone for the Solar Panel Validation pilot​ with the successful upload of the first application for Small-scale Technology Certificates​ (STCs) using solar panel validation tools.

“The successful uploading of the first signed data package from Formbay/Jinko is a fantastic achievement and the result of two years of work by our industry partners and Clean Energy Regulator staff”, said Michelle Crosbie, General Manager at the Clean Energy Regulator. 

“Our industry partners: Formbay, SolarScope and Bridgeselect have made a significant investment in this initiative to help protect the integrity of the household solar industry and streamline the application process for installers and agents. Jinko was the first major manufacturer to make a commitment. They have been closely followed by other major manufacturers including Canadian Solar and Yingli, with many more showing interest. This is a project that benefits everyone involved in small-scale solar, from the manufacturers who can protect their brand, through to the householders who can now be assured their panels are genuine.”

Industry partnership to improve detection of unapproved panels

The Solar Panel Validation Pilot aims to protect the integrity of STCs and the solar industry by providing a way to check that panels are genuine, eligible for the government incentive and covered by warranty. Participating manufacturers will provide serial number data which will allow installers, retailers and consumers to check whether a panel is genuine.

A unique government/industry partnership, the pilot has fostered the development of industry tools that allow solar panel serial numbers to be validated against manufacturer data, while streamlining the collection of information required to apply for STCs. The tools include mobile apps (which collect information about the installation) including serial numbers. These apps check information against validation databases that hold manufacturer-provided data. Together, these tools create a signed data package with a unique security code. Registered Agents participating in the pilot upload the signed data package (created by installers) when they apply for STCs via the REC Registry.

Pilot update

We anticipate receiving more signed data packages over the coming weeks as we continue to work with industry partners to refine and finalise the tools. The project is currently being implemented as a voluntary pilot with a select groups of industry clients and stakeholders. For more information, see Solar Panel Validation pilot​.

Once the pilot is evaluated it is expected to be opened for broader industry participation. We are stepping up on enforcement action against parties that are threatening the market by selling and installing substandard products. STCs created using validated panel data will deliver a higher level of confidence to Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. STCs created without validated data will be examined more closely under our compliance program.

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