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Solar Panel Validation Pilot

01 September 2017

The Clean Energy Regulator has partnered with the solar industry and peak bodies to introduce the Solar Panel Validation Pilot. The pilot allows businesses in the Small-scale Renewable Energy scheme supply chain to quickly and easily check if solar panels are genuine before they are installed.

The Solar Panel Validation Pilot is made up of two parts — an app for installers to use on a mobile device and a database of verified information for solar panels, including solar panel serial numbers. Installers use the app to scan solar panel serial numbers, which are then checked against a database to ensure they are approved.

The Solar Panel Validation Pilot aims to protect the integrity of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and industry by providing an easy way to check that panels are genuine, approved panels. Genuine, approved panels are panels that are backed by manufacturer warranties and meet Australian standards for quality and performance and are eligible for small-scale technology certificates.


Participation in the pilot

The pilot project will start in mid-2017.

Industry participants in the pilot were identified through an expression of interest process. Participants in the pilot are investing their own funds to build installer apps that will collect serial number information and new validation databases that the apps synch with to check the authenticity of the serial numbers.

Apps and validation services are now being developed by:

  • FormBay
  • SolarScope
  • Bridge Select (formerly Kickstart Agile Pty Ltd)

During the pilot, installers and retailers that are working with the pilot participants will use the new apps to scan and check solar panel serial numbers against the validation databases. This electronic check will create a validated data package that can be provided to the customer and REC Agents. Agents can then include this data package when they apply for small-scale technology certificates. The package will be automatically uploaded into the REC Registry when completing the ‘Register small generation unit’ REC Registry online form. As part of the pilot, the Clean Energy Regulator will assess whether use of the data packages can allow for a more streamlined assessment process.

If the pilot is successful, the Clean Energy Regulator will consider options to expand the initiative in the second half of 2017.

Benefits of the Solar Panel Validation Pilot

Validating solar panels before they are installed is important, as:

  • it lets consumers know they are getting genuine products that meet Australian standards and come with a warranty
  • installers know they are installing the right panels
  • it lowers the risk of fraud to agents
  • it protects retailers from financial penalty and reputational damage
  • it helps the Australian Government and the solar industry to uphold the integrity of the scheme.
Serial Number Project Concept
Installer scans serial number
Step 1: Installer scans
Request for validation sent to manufacturer or third party database
Step 2: Request for validation
Installer receives signed data package
Step 3: Installer receives
Customer receives signed data package
Step 4a: Customer receives
Agent receives signed data package and sends to the Clean Energy Regulator
Step 4b: Agent receives
Clean Energy Regulator validates certificates
Step 5: Clean Energy Regulator validates
InstallerThe Individual who is approved to install PV systems.Providing accurate information into the Installer Application, this data is then used by the Verification Service and in the application in the REC Registry.
Importer/ ManufacturerThe organisation that distributes the products made by the Manufacturer. This may be the manufacturer or a separate organisation.Is a trusted source that will provide Serial Numbers and other product details that will used by the Verification Service to verify products used in the installation.
AgentA ‘person’ as defined by Renewable Energy Target (RET) schemeProvides verified data package to the Clean Energy Regulator.
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