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Rooftop solar installer caught out for fraudulent STC creation

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One Step Off The Grid

rooftop solar

 

The Clean Energy Regulator’s crack-down on Australia’s rooftop solar industry continues, with action taken this week against an installer for the “fraudulent creation” of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) for jobs carried out in Victoria.

The CER said Green and Gold Solar Australia – a PV installer (see clarification below) with offices in New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland and Victoria – had been found to have installed rooftop PV systems without compliant Victorian Certificates of Electrical Safety, therefore making them ineligible for STCs.

The company – *which is not one of the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Solar retailers – had since entered into an “enforceable undertaking” with the regulator, the CER statement said, including the inspection of all solar PV installations and the submission of compliant Certificates of Electrical Safety.

The regulator said the installer, which has been in the business for more than a decade, according to its website, had also committed to “the development and implementation of new internal compliance processes and procedures,” which would be provided to the CER.

This latest action by the regulator is part of a broad crackdown on non-compliance all along the STC creation chain, to enforce the installation of accredited panels, and compliance with installation standards, and to weed out unaccredited installers and unlicensed electricians.

Already, the effort has netted a big fish. As we reported in August, Australia’s biggest solar retailer, Euro Solar. was ordered by the CER to surrender STCs or replace modules after being found to have installed non-compliant solar panels.

P & N NSW Pty Ltd, which trades as Euro Solar, was found by the CER to have claimed STCs from non-compliant panels on 10 different rooftop solar installations, amounting to 1,058 STCs worth around $40,000.

The company was asked by the Regulator to validate serial numbers on solar modules for a further 78 installations within 12 months, and for a further 100 installations within 18 months.

“The Clean Energy Regulator takes fraud and deliberate non-compliance seriously and takes necessary action to ensure the integrity of the scheme,” it said on Friday.

“SRES participants who are involved in the improper creation of certificates will be subject to enforcement action,” it added, noting this could include the application of enforceable undertakings, criminal or civil proceedings and suspension and deregistration of REC Registry accounts.

*CLARIFICATION* This article originally stated that Green and Gold Solar Australia was a Clean Energy Council accredited company. It is not. CEC accreditation is given to individuals only, not companies. For installers the CEC has a list of Approved Solar Installers. Green and Gold Solar is not on that list. CEC informed RenewEconomy on Friday that the company “ used a greyscale version of our installer logo on their website in a way that we do not authorise.” 

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

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  • Joe

    Sad to see this sort of shonky behaviour as it gives solar a bad image and more fuel for the anti RE crowd to pile in. But at least it is being exposed and dealt with. I can only hope that this is isolated activity.

  • Jeremy

    Dear Interested Parties,
     
    Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd Sub-Contracted Green Zone Electrics Pty Ltd ABN: 79 139 531 589 to complete a total of 42 residential solar PV system installations in Victoria, Australia.
     
    In Victoria, an electrical contractor must have their work inspected within a period of seven (7) days and, upon successful sign off, have a Compliance of Electrical Safety (CES) created and issued to both Energy Safe Victoria and the relevant distributor.
     
    Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd ordered and paid Green Zone Electrics Pty Ltd to execute these inspections as per the guideline mentioned above.
     
    It is alleged that, at the time of STC creation, no CES was lodged with Energy Safe Victoria. 
     
    Unfortunately Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd’s internal compliance procedures failed to identify this breach as Green Zone Electrics Pty Ltd had provided Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd with an invoice and supporting documentation suggesting an inspection had in fact been performed at each of the 42 installation addresses in question.
     
    Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd is working closely with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) on this matter and we are currently re-inspecting all 42 installations in question.

    • Chris Fraser

      So will you await the VCES for each project and lodge it and the STC Form together to the Regulator/Distributor ?

      • Jeremy

        Hi Chris,

        Correct.

        Again, Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd is working closely with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) on this matter and we are currently re-inspecting all 42 installations in question.

        I am more than happy to update you via this thread when we have absolute clarity on the issue.

        Jeremy,
        Green & Gold Solar Australia Pty Ltd.