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Lifting standards in the solar industry

Monday 1 July 2019 3:29am

Solar Victoria’s tough new requirements for the state’s top 150 solar retailers begin from today, to help protect customers and ensure all installs are of a high standard.

Already more than two-thirds of these solar retailers are now Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailers and ready to participate from today. The Clean Energy Council has rejected 23 applications, with most already reapplying to ensure they meet the high standards.

“We’re holding solar retailers to the highest standards. Victorians want to be assured solar retailers will adhere to all legislation and regulations, and that sales representatives will act ethically, and honestly,” Solar Victoria Acting CEO, Jonathan Leake said.

The Clean Energy Council’s Approved Retailers program requires solar retailers to:

  • provide a standard minimum five-year warranty on the operation and performance of the whole solar system including workmanship, products and documentation to confirm this
  • provide information in writing to enable full education about a purchase before entering a contract
  • Respect customers’ legal rights relating to cooling-off periods and refunds, and provide the opportunity for customers to cancel a contract and obtain a full refund if changes are made that are not approved in writing
  • address any problems arising during the warranty period
  • be fully accountable for the actions of any subcontracted parties, including CEC-accredited installers/designers
  • maintain a fair and transparent complaints process, and respond to customers within 21 days of a complaint being made.

Mr Leake said companies not prepared to abide by those requirements would not be accredited and could not be part of the Solar Homes program.

“This is part of a suite of requirements designed to ensure Victoria’s booming solar industry delivers quality service at the point of sale, during and following installation.”

“Committing sales staff, their employers, and installers to high standards will ensure consumers get a better outcome, and support the quality businesses that do the right thing.” Mr Leake said.

“In a very competitive market, our objective is to protect consumers from those who prey on people with little knowledge or experience with solar.”

Lower volume solar retailers are required to gain accreditation as CEC Approved Solar Retailers by1 November 2019.

Mr Leake said Solar Victoria was on the lookout for dodgy behaviour by solar salespeople and installers, referring them to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the Clean Energy Council.

“Solar Victoria is committed to delivering a quality program and to do that we must ensure solar retailers understand what is required of them.”

“We have referred 19 businesses to Consumer Affairs Victoria for investigation. These include online operations that have no commercial substance, but which make spurious claims and generate leads for other businesses.”

“Lifting standards will establish a level playing field for all companies and add to the work already being done with Energy Safe Victoria, WorkSafe, the Victorian Building Authority, Essential Services Commission and Consumer Affairs Victoria,” Mr Leake said.

All solar retailers that are not yet signatories are encouraged to apply for approval now.

More information on the standards all solar retailers are required to meet to participate in our Program can be found on the Clean Energy Council's Solar Retailer Code of Conduct webpageExternal Link .

Reviewed 09 March 2022