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An investigation conducted by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) has resulted in the conviction of Mr Gavin Brady, Director of Shine Tech Solar Pty Ltd. Between October 2020 and April 2021, Mr Brady received a financial benefit by falsely claiming to have installed 11 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that were never installed.
At the time of offending, Mr Brady was a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited solar PV installer. The CER’s investigation found that Mr Brady submitted 11 false Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) assignment forms along with certificates of electrical safety to a renewable energy certificate agent. The agent relied upon this information to improperly create 1,390 STCs for these non-installed solar PV systems. In return for the right to create these STCs, the agent paid Mr Brady $50,000.
On 1 February 2023, Mr Brady pleaded guilty in the Moorabbin Justice Centre to five offences of dishonesty under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
In sentencing the Magistrate found the offender had obtained money by submitting false documents to the tune of $50,000, which the Magistrate described as not an insignificant sum.
The Magistrate stated the sentence must strongly emphasise general deterrence.
The Magistrate took into account the serious nature of the offending, the offender’s early plea of guilty and his cooperation with the investigation (i.e. his participation in a record of interview and the fact he made full admissions) in deciding that a term of imprisonment was not appropriate. The Magistrate decided that the appropriate sentence should be a lengthy Community Correction Order.
The Magistrate convicted the offender and imposed a Community Correction Order for 2 years, requiring the offender to complete 300 hours of unpaid community work within 2 years.
In a separate move, the Magistrate made a reparation order requiring Mr Brady to compensate the agent for an amount totalling $48,528. The Agent has surrendered an equivalent number of certificates to those unlawfully created.
Mr Brady has had his CEC accreditation suspended.
Thomas Stoddart, Acting General Manager of the CER’s Compliance Branch, said the CER has zero tolerance for wilful fraud.
“Installers who attempt to benefit from making false statements regarding STC eligibility – whether they haven’t been on site for the installation, or the installation simply doesn’t exist – will get caught. As this case shows, this practice runs the risk of prosecution, a criminal conviction and the loss of livelihood through accreditation suspension.
“The CER expects information provided to it to be true and correct and will take enforcement action where it is warranted under our Compliance, Education and Enforcement Policy,” said Mr Stoddart.
Scheme integrity is a shared responsibility, participants within the scheme that are aware of fraudulent activity and don’t report that activity, may be subjected to further assessment of whether they are eligible to participate in agency schemes.
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 CER’s Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector. The new regulations provide the CER additional powers to disqualify installers and designers, retailers and component manufacturers from participating in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
If you have any information about potential fraudulent behaviour or activities in CER administered schemes, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 553 542.
See further information on compliance and enforcement.
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