The Solar Best Practice Program
The Australian Solar Energy Society and the Australian Solar Energy Industries Association have embarked upon the development of a best practice program that will formulate a set of best practice standards, and eventually provide best practice accreditation. The Solar Best Practice Program is being established to protect the professionalism of quality solar installers, and to ensure that end consumers are receiving high quality products.
The Clean Energy Centre will work with the Australian Solar Energy Society and the Australian Solar Energy Industries Association on the Solar Best Practice Program, which is seeking industry players to contribute their ideas about what constitutes best practice, and to offer suggestions about how best to roll out the program industry-wide.
The Solar Best Practice Program will cover all aspects of photovoltaic installation, from the sales pitch of the solar system, to the design and installation of the system. Under the Solar Best Practice Program there would be no high pressure sales techniques allowed, no misleading advertising and no overstating outputs of systems, says Mr McCarthy. Some less-than-ideal installations have been able to take place and not be detected because, to date, there has been little physical checking of the systems installed. To avoid this in the future, the Solar Best Practice Program will also include mandatory site inspections.
The Solar Best Practice Program will not be mandatory, rather it is a voluntary program that will run in conjunction with the Clean Energy Council Accreditation Scheme and any other future licensing schemes.
The Solar Acquittal Inspections Program
The Federal Government has also been spurred into action to address the fact that a few faulty systems may have been installed under its solar programs.
Recently the Federal Government launched the Solar Acquittal Inspections Program. This program will involve the inspection of up to 5,000 solar installations by the end of 2011. As well as acquitting the expenditure of public money, the inspection program is intended to uncover non-compliance and fraudulent activity that has taken place under the SHCP and the NSSP. The Government has not released an estimate of the cost of the Solar Acquittal Inspections Program, but has indicated that, while the acquittal was budgeted for, it is going to be carried out on a larger scale than was anticipated owing to the significant growth in the solar energy sector.