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Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme inspections

07 November 2023


Under the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) is required to conduct random inspections on small generation units which have had small-scale technology certificates created against them.

Inspections are conducted to ensure that selected systems meet all the installation requirements of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), and were eligible for small-scale technology certificates at the time the system was installed.

As a result of inspections, the CER can identify and act on improperly created certificates, installations that do not meet the electrical and building standards of Australia, and installers that have breached the Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation guidelines.

Inspections carried out under the scheme will incur no charge to the owner of the system.

Inspections are not available on request. Inspections are selected at random by the CER to develop an informed view on the level of compliance across all installations and ensure installed systems meet all the requirements under the scheme.

Roles and responsibilities

Throughout the inspection process, the CER is responsible for:

  • ensuring a statistically significant sample of systems are inspected each year
  • appointing inspectors
  • providing final inspection reports to the:
    • owner of the system or occupier
    • agent, system designer and installer
    • CEC
    • relevant State or Territory regulators responsible for electrical and building safety
  • taking appropriate compliance and enforcement action for improperly created certificates.

The CER is not responsible for electrical and building safety. This responsibility lies with the state and territory government and electrical regulators.

Throughout the inspection process, the CER appointed inspector is responsible for:

  • conducting an on-site inspection to determine if the system was installed in line with the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001
  • obtaining informed consent from the owner of the system and occupier of the premises prior to conducting an inspection
  • handling any identified safety risks, including immediate notification of the extent and nature of the safety risk to the relevant state, territory or local government body for electrical and building safety, the occupier, the CER and relevant distribution networks
  • preparing a written inspection report
  • providing to the person who created the certificates, the designer and the installer of the system two weeks to comment on the draft report findings—where items for improvement are identified
  • providing recommendations on the steps that should be taken to rectify any identified problems, giving priority to safety or operational problems
  • providing a final inspection report to the CER.

Throughout the inspection process, state and territory and local government bodies are responsible for:

  • administrating or enforcing safety standards for electrical work and for matters relating to the design and construction of buildings and structures
  • regulating consumer protection.

Inspectors appointed by the CER

To appoint an inspector, the CER identifies a person or organisation that is independent of the designer or installer of the system and does not have a conflict of interest in relation to the system installation.

All inspectors appointed by the CER must:

  • have had sufficient training, and be aware of their responsibilities as an inspector
  • hold an unrestricted electrical license in the state or territory they are conducting inspections
  • hold CEC accreditation for the design and install of PV systems
  • have sufficient experience and knowledge of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 to critically examine system installations and prepare inspection reports
  • maintain a good reputation within their industry and act with honesty and integrity.

During the on-site inspection, the appointed inspector:

  • must explain the purpose and scope of the inspection to the occupier or their representative
  • must obtain the consent of the owner or occupier to conduct an inspection
  • must leave the premises at the request of the owner or occupier
  • must produce their identity card to the occupier or representative prior to commencing the inspection
  • must comply with all requirements and conditions of their electrical license
  • must comply with the law of the state or territory where the installation is located
  • may examine and test the system and any wiring or equipment associated with the installation
  • may take photographs of anything relevant to the installation
  • may make a video recording of the inspection
  • may access the roof top cavity of the property to conduct the inspection
  • may ask questions related to the design or installation of the system and the creation of certificates.

SRES inspection results

The CER publishes inspections updates to provide a summary of the inspection scheme including:

  • the number of inspections conducted by state and territory
  • the number of system installations deemed unsafe or sub-standard
  • how the latest inspection results compare with previous years.

Inspections updates

Latest inspections update

documentasset:Inspections Update No 21

Previous inspection updates

documentasset:Inspections Update No 21

documentasset:Inspections Update No 20

documentasset:Inspections Update No 19

documentasset:Inspections Update No 18

documentasset:Inspections Update No 17

documentasset:Inspections Update No 16

documentasset:Inspections Update No 15

documentasset:Inspections Update No 14

documentasset:Inspections Update No 13

documentasset:Inspections Update No 12

documentasset:Inspections Update No 11

documentasset:Inspections Update No 10

documentasset:Inspections Update No 9

documentasset:Inspections Update No 8

documentasset:Inspections Update No 7

documentasset:Inspections update No 6

documentasset:Inspections Update No 5

documentasset:Inspections Update No4

documentasset:Inspections Update No3

documentasset:Inspections Update No2

documentasset:Inspections Update No1


Inspection sample data analysis

In addition to the inspection updates published by the CER, a sample of small generation unit inspections have been analysed to investigate significant trends and long-term estimates.

This data analysis works to support state and territory governments and the CEC in carrying out their responsibilities to effectively regulate electrical safety in relation to roof top solar photovoltaic panel installations across Australia.

The 2018 data analysis report prepared by Bond University Ltd, analyses data collected from the CER’s inspection program since 2011 and is an update of previous reports tabled to the Renewable Energy Target Inspections Advisory Committee (RIAC) and published by the CER.

Current report

Previous reports

SRES residual systemic safety risks report

The CER has prepared an Analysis of Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme Inspection Data to Assess Photovoltaic System Residual Systemic Electrical Safety Risks report in response to the recommendation by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) during its 2018 review of the administration of the Renewable Energy Target.

The report found that in the small number of cases where PV systems are potentially unsafe, water entering DC isolators (a disconnect switch) is the most common cause.

The report recommends state and territory governments consider:

  • whether the potential safety risks from the requirement for a rooftop DC isolator outweigh the benefits and pursue this through the current Standards review process
  • removing the requirement for a DC isolator near the inverter and require the wall isolator to be located inside the inverter and pursue this change through the current Standards review process
  • introducing mandatory PV system inspections or educational programs to encourage PV system owners to have a qualified person do regular inspections.

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