Federal Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister, Angus Taylor, has ordered a federal inquiry into the solar panel industry and its regulatory framework.
Mr Taylor said that installer’s accreditation, product quality and sales techniques will be examined by the Clean Energy Regulator.
“Australians are world leaders in the uptake of rooftop photovoltaic (PV), shown by the uninterrupted strong growth in rooftop solar,” Mr Taylor said.
“Protecting the integrity of a system that has such a wide ranging impact on Australian households and businesses is a top priority.”
It is expected that the review will include an examination of the Clean Energy Council’s approval process as well as investigating businesses that are not council accredited, however the full scope and terms of reference of the review are yet to be finalised, and will be released in coming days.
In a statement, the Clean Energy Council said it “welcomes any genuine review of the regulations and oversight of the Australian solar industry, particularly if it leads to continuous improvement and harmonisation of the way the solar industry is regulated, delivering a more robust sector and a better outcome for customers”.
The Clean Energy Council added, however, that it would become “deeply concerned” if the review was politicised in a bid to reduce support for renewable energy.
The Clean Energy Council said that the Australian solar industry is heavily regulated and scrutinised and that it consistently works with the range of regulatory bodies across state and Federal agencies to maintain and improve the standards and conduct of the solar industry.
While driving tougher standards for solar panels and inverters, increasing training and support for installers and clamping down on poor behaviour from retailers, the Clean Energy Council said it is confident that the vast majority of solar customers get a good quality solar system that is safely installed.
Currently, the council operates with a voluntary retailer approval scheme whereby businesses agree to a code of conduct authorised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which pledges not to engage in deceptive conduct regarding price, quality, value, or warranty periods.
The ACCC has been reviewing the code, focusing on the expansion of the code to include home battery systems, and reviewing penalties for or drawbacks for those who do not agree to the code.
The ACCC aims to re-authorise the code in October.