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Solar Panel Validation Pilot

13 July 2018
RET

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.

 

Video transcript:

Documentasset: Solar panel validation project video - transcript

Participation in the pilot

The pilot project commenced in mid-2017.

Industry partners were identified through an expression of interest process. Partners have invested their own funds to build:

  • installer apps that will collect serial number information, and
  • validation databases that the apps synch with to check the authenticity of the serial numbers.

Apps and validation services have been developed by:

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

Leading manufacturers including Jinko Solar, Yingli, LG Australia, Hanwah Q Cells, Canadian Solar and ReneSolar have signed up to have their serial numbers available for validation with more to join soon.

During the pilot, installers and retailers that are working with the pilot partners 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 registered 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.

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

If the pilot is successful, the Clean Energy Regulator will consider options to expand the initiative during 2018.

Benefits of solar panel validation

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

  • lets consumers know they are getting genuine brand that meet Australian standards and come with the stated warranty
  • lets installers know they are installing the right panels
  • lowers the risk of fraud to agents
  • protects retailers from financial penalty and reputational damage, and
  • helps the Australian Government and the solar industry to uphold the integrity of the scheme.

 

documentasset:Solar Panel Validation Pilot an innovative regulatory story - transcript

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