CER Solar Panel Validation Initiative Update

Solar panel validation

More manufacturers have joined Australia’s Solar Panel Validation (SPV) Initiative and it’s time for the next step – the all-important logo.

We’ve mentioned the initiative a few times here on SQ. SPV is a program coordinated by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator that seeks to ensure solar panels being installed are genuine, eligible for Australia’s “solar rebate” and generally up to scratch – but perhaps “scratch” isn’t a good word to use.

The program helps to protect consumers from rebadged crap solar panels, the reputation of installers and manufacturers, and the integrity of Australia’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

Validation is carried out using an app that scans solar panel serial numbers just before they are installed, and these are checked against a database to ensure they match up to information verified by the Clean Energy Council.

To be eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), which are what the rebate is based on, solar panels that form part of an eligible small-scale renewable energy system must listed on the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Modules List at the time of installation.

Panel verification occurs in a matter of seconds – here’s a bit more on how the system works:

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There’s some pretty good motivation for solar businesses to use the app and for manufacturers to get on board, as its use also expedites STC claims. While a solar buyer benefits from the value of the STCs as a point of sale discount, the solar business or its agent cannot claim STCs until the system is installed, and then they need to sell the STCs if that is the intention. For most businesses, the shorter the time-frame between the installation and cash in the bank, the better.

According to the Clean Energy Regulator, claims with verified solar panels are typically processed in 48 hours, whereas those with panels not verified may be subject to closer scrutiny – and delays.

When I last checked the list of manufacturers participating, there were 21 noted. Since September last year another 14 have been added – so there are now 35 in total at the time of publishing. All the manufacturers on SQ’s trusted solar brands chart except one have joined the SPV.

SPV Logo Guidelines Feedback

Next for the SPV initiative is settling on logo guidelines. The logo will be able to be used by approved parties on products, in publications,  marketing, corporate and other materials.

The Regulator announced yesterday it seeking feedback on draft rules for use of the SPV logo until Friday 6 March 2020. If those interested in providing feedback were expecting a brief document to review, they’ll be disappointed – it’s 21 pages long.

As to what the logo will look like, it seems the Regulator is keeping that a surprise for now. The suspense is killing me.

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