Rooftop solar sector to face inquiry after reports of dodgy sales practices and installations
Australia’s solar industry could be in for a major shakeup after the Energy Minister ordered an independent inquiry into poor practices in the sector.
It comes in the wake of a report by 7.30 last week, which highlighted pushy sales tactics for buy now, pay later finance for solar panels.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the solar industry did not appear to be working in the best interest of consumers and he wants the Clean Energy Regulator to investigate.
“I have asked the Clean Energy Regulator, with the support of my department, to investigate the issues raised in a range of recent reports focused on the integrity of the rooftop solar sector,” he said.
Estimated 400,000 installations could be substandard
As well as sales and marketing techniques and finance practices, the inquiry would also look at incorrect claiming of solar credits, accreditation of solar retailers by the industry’s peak body, the Clean Energy Council, and defective installations.
A report by the Clean Energy Regulator in 2018 found that, out of 3,678 inspections, 748 solar systems were substandard and 80 were deemed unsafe.
Based on the sample size, it said around 406,000 installations could be deemed substandard and 44,000 installations unsafe.
Mr Taylor said he wanted to ensure there was public confidence in the sector.
“Australians are world leaders in the uptake of rooftop PV, shown by the uninterrupted strong growth in rooftop solar,” he said.
“Protecting the integrity of a system that has such a wide-ranging impact on Australian households and businesses is a top priority.”
The inquiry is expected to take around two months.
In a statement to 7.30, the Clean Energy Council said it “works closely with the range of regulatory bodies across the state and Commonwealth agencies to continuously lift the bar and improve the standards and conduct of the solar industry, so customers get better value and enhanced service”.
“We are confident that this means the vast majority of solar customers get a good quality solar system that is safely installed.”