Australia’s Clean Energy Council has reminded members of several important issues relating to replacement solar panels, imminent approved module listing expiries, and new terms and conditions for product listings.
STCs And Replacement Solar Panels
In September last year, we mentioned Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator was updating guidelines relating to replacement solar panels and Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), which form the basis of Australia’s major solar subsidy. The CEC has reminded its members that from tomorrow, in instances where one, some, or all panels are replaced in a system, they will no longer be eligible for STCs.
“The new framework, which has been developed by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), answers the CEC and other industry participants’ concerns about the inappropriate use and exploitation of STCs on replacement panels,” says the CEC.
The situation has caused some confusion, so here’s a quick summary:
- Original solar power system installed – eligible
- Additional capacity/upgrade – eligible
- Additional, separate solar power system – eligible
- The original system replaced (all panels and inverter/s) – eligible
- One, some or all panels replaced – not eligible
Eligibility also includes the system being under 100kW capacity, installed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer, and meeting relevant Australian Standards. For further information, see this page on the Clean Energy Regulator website.
CEC Approved PV Module Listing Expiries
In November 2017, we reported more than half the currently listed solar modules on the CEC’s Approved Products List were scheduled to expire on February 1 – just a couple of days from now.
A quick look through the CEC’s Approved Products List last night indicated still well over half of the listings are due to expire this Thursday. While some affected solar panels may no longer be produced, no doubt some still are and in both cases, panels could continue to be sold and installed in Australia after listing expiry.
Delisting will cause significant headaches for installers using affected panels and the customers having them installed.
“For a solar installation to be eligible for STCs from the CER, the PV modules must be on the list of CEC approved modules at the date of installation. If expired PV modules are installed, the system will not be eligible for STCs,” says the Council.
The CEC certainly gives plenty of warning when panel listings are due to expire. That manufacturers/suppliers continue to get caught out is very puzzling given the level of havoc delisting can cause. It’s really a case of an ounce of prevention being worth far more than a pound of cure.
Installers should check the list to see if the solar panels they use are at risk of delisting and communicate with the relevant supplier if this turns out to be the case.
New Terms And Conditions
The CEC has also reminded members that updated terms and conditions for the listing of PV modules, inverters and power conversion equipment (PCE) come into effect today.
“The changes include a number of new requirements for companies looking to list their products on the CEC’s approved products list,” it says.
The new terms and conditions for inverters and PCE can be viewed here (PDF) and the new T&C’s for modules here (PDF).
Furthermore, From February 1, all listed crystalline PV modules not covered under the new terms and conditions must demonstrate compliance with new versions of IEC 61215 and IEC 61730. For thin-film PV modules, this applies from April 1.