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Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme inspections

06 October 2016


Under the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Regulator is required to conduct random inspections on small-scale generation units which have had small-scale technology certificates created against them.

Inspections are conducted to ensure that selected systems meet all the installation requirements of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, and were eligible for small-scale technology certificates at the time the system was installed.

As a result of inspections, the Clean Energy Regulator is able to identify and act on improperly created certificates, installations that do not meet the electrical and building standards of Australia, and installers that have breached the Clean Energy Council accreditation guidelines.

Inspections carried out under the scheme will incur no charge to the owner of the system.

Small-scale Renewable Energy scheme inspections are not available on request. Inspections are selected at random by the Clean Energy Regulator to develop an informed view on the level of compliance across all installations and ensure installed systems meet all the requirements under the scheme.

Roles and responsibilities

Throughout the inspection process, the Clean Energy Regulator is responsible for:

  • ensuring a statistically significant sample of systems are inspected each year
  • appointing inspectors
  • providing final inspection reports to the:
    • owner of the system or occupier
    • agent, system designer and installer
    • Clean Energy Council, and
    • relevant State or Territory regulators responsible for electrical and building safety, and
  • taking appropriate compliance and enforcement action for improperly created certificates.

The Clean Energy Regulator is not responsible for electrical and building safety. This responsibility lies with the state and territory government and electrical regulators.

Throughout the inspection process, the Clean Energy Regulator appointed inspector is responsible for:

  • conducting an on-site inspection to determine if the system was installed in line with the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001
  • obtaining informed consent from the owner of the system and occupier of the premises prior to conducting an inspection
  • handling any identified safety risks, including immediate notification of the extent and nature of the safety risk to the relevant state, territory or local government body for electrical and building safety, the occupier, the Clean Energy Regulator and relevant distribution networks.
  • preparing a written inspection report
  • providing to the person who created the certificates, the designer and the installer of the system two weeks to comment on the draft report findings—where items for improvement are identified
  • providing recommendations on the steps that should be taken to rectify any identified problems, giving priority to safety or operational problems, and
  • providing a final inspection report to the Clean Energy Regulator.

Throughout the inspection process, state and territory and local government bodies are responsible for:

  • administrating or enforcing safety standards for electrical work and for matters relating to the design and construction of buildings and structures, and
  • regulating consumer protection.

Inspectors appointed by the Clean Energy Regulator

To appoint an inspector, the Clean Energy Regulator identifies a person or organisation that is independent of the designer or installer of the system, and does not have a conflict of interest in relation to the system installation.

All inspectors appointed by the Clean Energy Regulator must:

  • have had sufficient training, and be aware of their responsibilities as an inspector
  • hold an unrestricted electrical license in the state or territory they are conducting inspections
  • hold Clean Energy Council accreditation for the design and install of PV systems
  • have sufficient experience and knowledge of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 to critically examine system installations and prepare inspection reports, and
  • maintain a good reputation within their industry and act with honesty and integrity.

During the on-site inspection, the appointed inspector:

  • must explain the purpose and scope of the inspection to the occupier or their representative
  • must obtain the consent of the owner or occupier to conduct an inspection
  • must leave the premises at the request of the owner or occupier
  • must produce their identity card to the occupier or representative prior to commencing the inspection
  • must comply with all requirements and conditions of their electrical license
  • must comply with the law of the state or territory where the installation is located
  • may examine and test the system and any wiring or equipment associated with the installation
  • may take photographs of anything relevant to the installation
  • may make a video recording of the inspection
  • may access the roof top cavity of the property to conduct the inspection, and
  • may ask questions related to the design or installation of the system and the creation of certificates.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme inspection results

Each quarter, the Clean Energy Regulator publishes an inspections update to provide a summary of the inspection scheme including:

  • the number of inspections conducted by state and territory
  • the number of system installations deemed unsafe or sub-standard
  • how the latest inspection results compare with previous years.

Inspections updates

Latest inspections update

documentasset:Inspections Update No 15

Previous inspection updates

documentasset:Inspections Update No 14

documentasset:Inspections Update No 13

documentasset:Inspections Update No 12

documentasset:Inspections Update No 11

documentasset:Inspections Update No 10

documentasset:Inspections Update No 9

documentasset:Inspections Update No 8

documentasset:Inspections Update No 7

documentasset:Inspections update No 6

documentasset:Inspections Update No 5

documentasset:Inspections Update No4

documentasset:Inspections Update No3

documentasset:Inspections Update No2

documentasset:Inspections Update No1

Inspection sample data analysis

In addition to the quarterly inspections updates published by the Clean Energy Regulator, a sample of small-scale generation unit inspections has been analysed to investigate significant trends and long-term estimates.

This data analysis works to support state and territory governments and the Clean Energy Council in carrying out their responsibilities to effectively regulate electrical safety in relation to roof top solar photovoltaic panel installations across Australia.

The 2015 data analysis report prepared by DSI Consulting Pty Ltd, analyses data collected from the Clean Energy Regulator’s inspection program since 2011 and is an update of previous reports tabled to the Renewable Energy Target Inspections Advisory Committee (RIAC) and published by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Current report

Previous reports

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