The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has introduced new initiatives that it says will “substantially lift the bar” on the quality of solar power products sold in Australia, including a performance testing program for solar panels and inverters.

CEC Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the changes were the latest in a series of steps by the industry to ensure the “absolute highest standards” for people buying solar power systems. “Solar panels and inverters already need to be independently tested and demonstrate their compliance with Australian Standards before they can be sold here, which is an appropriate protection for consumers,” Mr Thornton said.

“These products are then included on lists of approved solar power modules and inverters, which are available from the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Accreditation website. “An independent testing program is being introduced for solar panels and inverters to ensure that the actual performance of products being sold in Australia lives up to the marketing claims. Products that are not up to standard will be removed from the Clean Energy Council lists of approved products. “Likewise, products can now be de-listed if suppliers breach consumer law – such as a failure to honour warranties – effectively removing their eligibility for government incentives.

“These changes will improve overall product quality in the solar industry by making sure customers get what they pay for when buying panels and inverters, and by penalising companies that do the wrong thing. Protecting consumers is our highest priority.”

The changes to the panel listing process are as follows:

  • New terms and conditions will allow products to be de-listed from the registers of approved modules and inverters if suppliers breach consumer law – such as a failure to honour warranties.
  • An independent testing program will be introduced to ensure the alignment of marketing claims, product performance and safety. Products that fail this program will be removed from the CEC’s list of approved products.
  • An independent Product Listing Review panel has been appointed.