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Everything You Need To Know About The Clean Energy Regulator’s Solar Panel Validation Initiative

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) administers schemes legislated by the Australian Government for measuring, managing, reducing or offsetting Australia’s carbon emissions.

In 2018 CER launched a new scheme called the Solar Panel Validation Initiative. Recently, CER released an article encouraging the remaining solar industry players to jump on board with the initiative.

What is the Solar Panel Validation Initiative?

According to CER’s initial statement, the goal of the SPV Initiative is “to address the installation of unapproved solar panels in the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).”

The SPV Initiative ensures consumers know if the panels they are planning to buy are:

  • backed by manufacturer warranties
  • meet Australian standards for quality and performance
  • are eligible for small-scale technology certificates.​

According to CER, other benefits of the Initiative include:

  • lets installers know they are installing the right panels
  • lowers the risk of fraud to agents
  • protects retailers from financial penalty and reputational damage
  • helps the Australian Government and the solar industry to uphold the integrity of the scheme.

This also helps the image of solar businesses doing the right thing by staying away from cheap solar panels that are not backed by fair warranty.

With the recent news of solar panel failings this initiative is more important than ever. Consumers as well as installers need to be aware of the cheap panels out there and know who to choose when it comes to buying solar.

How does the Solar Panel Validation Initiative Work?

CER created this helpful infographic to describe how the SPV Initiative works:

Solar Panel Validation
Image Source: CER
  1. When on site, the installer scans the serial numbers and sends the data via the SPV app.
  2. Request for validation is sent to the validation service.
  3. The installer/retailer receives real-time confirmation the panels are genuine and finalises installation.
  4. The consumer receives confirmation that the panels are genuine.
  5. An agent receives the signed data package and sends this to the Clean Energy Regulator.
  6. CER validates small-scale technology certificates.

Which Solar Manufacturers are Already Part of the Initiative?

The following solar panel manufacturers are participating in the SPV Initiative:

  • Canadian Solar
  • Hanwha Q Cells
  • Jinko Solar
  • LG Electronics
  • Opal Solar
  • ReneSola
  • Risen Energy
  • Talesun
  • Trina Solar​
  • Winaico
  • Yingli Solar

Australian solar retailers and installers who sell and install these panels can get information on how to start using a validation app here.

Updates to the Solar Panel Validation Initiative in 2019

As mentioned earlier, CER released an article on 12 Feb 2019 encouraging the remaining solar retailers, installers and manufacturers to take advantage of the initiative and help Australia’s growing solar industry to be a quality one.

Here are the key updates to the SPV Initiative in 2019:

  • Applications for STCs with validated solar panels will be processed more quickly – typically within 48 hours.
  • STC processing times are planned to reduce even further to as fast as 24 hours from March 2019.
  • CER are currently developing a SPV logo “to support the positive reputation of SPV, to drive industry participation and increase consumer awareness of SPV.” Similar to the CEC logos displayed by CEC approved retailers, it is believed the future SPV logo can be used by manufacturers, installers and retailers who use the SPV Initiative apps and services to conduct business.
  • Customer records are being made available so consumers have evidence that their panels are genuine and have been validated.

Solar Panel Validation Will Help Protect Against Cheap Solar and Dodgy Installers

Solar Trust Centre is dedicated to informing consumers about schemes like the SPV Initiative so they know what questions to ask when purchasing solar. Don’t end up with a cheap solar system that will cost you more in the long run.

Here are some other relevant articles to help you know what to look for when purchasing solar:

See other schemes from CER here.

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