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Compliance update – 1 January to 31 March 2022

02 May 2022

Corporate

Our Compliance Update keeps you informed of activities related to our Compliance and Enforcement Priorities and other important information to help you comply with our schemes.

Renewable energy power stations suspended for failing to submit electricity generation returns

Accredited power stations must submit an electricity generation return (EGR) by 14 February to report on their electricity production during the prior calendar year as well as to make required compliance statements.

Twenty-eight power stations have had their accreditation suspended and will not be eligible to create Large-scale Generation Certificates until they submit an EGR.

  • Of the 1,875 active power stations, 92% submitted their EGR on time.
  • Following warning of potential suspension, compliance increased to 97%.
  • Steps will be immediately taken to suspend late submitters if they are late again.

RET registered person suspended

In March 2022 we permanently suspended MSquare Energy Pty Ltd (as a registered person) and its REC Registry account on the basis that it is no longer fit and proper under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. The directors of MSquare were officeholders of two agents that had been permanently suspended (More Green Energy Pty Ltd and More Tile and Ceramics Pty Ltd).

If any officeholders attempt to re-enter the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme through different companies we will take prior suspensions into account and may refuse registration.

Information concerning registered persons and agents, including those currently suspended, can be found by searching Registered persons on the REC Registry.

MSquare solar panels delisted

On 28 March 2022, the Clean Energy Council (CEC) removed all MSquare solar panels from the list of approved solar modules. As a result, MSquare solar panels installed after 28 March 2022 will not be eligible for STCs.

The CEC found that MSquare solar panels sold in Australia did not comply with their IEC 61215/IEC 61730 certification. Further, the CEC found that the conduct of MSquare has breached various CEC Terms and Conditions for solar panels.

For more information on solar panels eligible for installation under the SRES please see the CEC’s website.

Prosecutions

As part of the agency’s focus on individuals and businesses profiting from the provision of false or misleading information, one Tasmanian installer has been convicted (read more here), while an electrical retail company in the ACT is facing 14 charges in the ACT Magistrate Court (read more here).

Refusal of inspector appointment

On 31 March 2022, we refused an application for an agency accredited small generation unit inspector appointment. The applicant had a history of non-compliance with infringement penalties issued by a state authority. In addition to having the required qualifications and level of expertise, the agency requires its appointed inspectors to be persons of good repute and of sufficient maturity to properly exercise the powers of an inspector.

Changes to Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme commenced Friday 1 April 2022

These changes include new written statements for designers, installers and retailers, along with new powers for the Clean Energy Regulator to disqualify participants. Participants must ensure they are complying with new written statement obligations including using updated documentation.

There has been extensive industry education sessions conducted, and short videos and other information on these changes are available on our website. Registered agents are expected to ensure these new requirements are met for any system installed on or after 1 April 2022 prior to registering for STCs.

Registered agents, retailers, installers and designers who fail to adequately ensure that STCs are eligible for creation or are party to the provision of false or misleading information may face criminal, civil or administrative action.

Enforceable undertakings

Trina Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd

In February 2022, Trina Solar (Australia) Pty Ltd and the agency varied the enforceable undertaking Trina had entered into in May 2020. The variation outlines a Compliance Testing Program to be carried out by Trina Australia on solar panels previously installed by Trina which were not eligible for small-scale technology (STC) certificates in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. With the consent of system owners, the ineligible solar panels will be removed from rooftops and replaced. While there are no known safety or quality issues with the ineligible panels, performance testing will be undertaken on some of the removed panels.

See all Current Enforceable Undertakings.

Emission Reduction Fund applications refused registration

The agency has refused registration of two Emissions Reduction Fund project applications on the basis that the proposed project proponent was not fit and proper. The agency determined that the compliance history of a senior employee, in a position of influence over project proponent company operations, was a relevant matter to consider in determining whether the project proponent had the capability, competency, integrity and good character that is reasonably expected of a participant in our schemes. The proposed project proponent does not have any existing projects. View the agency’s Fit and Proper Person posture.

If you have information on potential fraudulent or non-compliant behaviour, report it today.


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