The Clean Energy Regulator has this week executed search warrants on several residential and commercial addresses connected to a Perth-based solar industry business group.
The group, who sell and install solar systems and operate as a Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme Agent, is under investigation for allegedly fabricating information about the responsible installer and designer of almost 500 solar panel installations, representing approximately $1.5 million in Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs).
Clean Energy Regulator General Manager of Compliance Piet Powell said the search warrants aimed to uncover evidence of false information being provided to the Clean Energy Regulator, resulting in the improper creation of STCs.
“The execution of these warrants furthers the recent investigative work of the Clean Energy Regulator in Perth, with separate, unrelated search warrants executed in September 2021 and May 2022, investigating other potentially fraudulent activity in the solar industry,” Ms Powell said.
“The Clean Energy Regulator requires the very highest standards of compliance and integrity within its Small- scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) for the financial incentives given. SRES eligibility requirements include complying with state and territory electrical regulatory requirements.
“At this stage, the Clean Energy Regulator does not have any direct evidence that suggests these installations are either unsafe or substandard. We are working with the relevant regulator in Western Australia and homeowners will be contacted if evidence becomes available of concerns with installation quality,” Ms Powell said.
“Agents, installers, and retailers who fail to adequately ensure that STCs are eligible for creation or are party to the provision of false and misleading information, may face criminal, civil or administrative action.”
In December 2021, amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 passed into law. The amendments address the Australian Government's response to the recommendations made in the Clean Energy Regulator's Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector, and importantly, provide the Clean Energy Regulator additional powers to disqualify installers and designers, retailers, and components from participating in the SRES.
If you have any information about potential fraudulent behaviour or activities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 1300 553 542 or use the online reporting tool. See further information on Compliance and enforcement.
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