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Information for Owners and Occupiers

Please read the following information if your small-scale solar panel, hydro or wind installation has been randomly selected by the Clean Energy Regulator for inspection. Please note that the Clean Energy Regulator does not conduct inspections on request by the owner.

What will the the Clean Energy Regulator inspection check?

The inspectors will complete a comprehensive check of the installation to ensure that it conforms with the requirements for the creation of certificates, which are:

  • applicable Australian standards and industry guidelines as in force at the time the unit was installed; and
  • all relevant State/Territory and local government requirements

Owner's and occupier's rights

Owners and occupiers have the right to:

  • Be contacted at least 24 hours before the proposed inspection and to have agreed to a time for the inspection.
  • Refuse consent for the inspectors to enter their property and conduct the inspection.
  • Nominate a representative, such as a family member or friend, to be present for the inspection.
  • Ask the inspectors to show their identity cards.
  • Refuse to answer any questions the inspector may ask related to the design or installation of the system and the creation of certificates.
  • To observe the inspection while it is being carried out.
  • Ask the inspector to leave your property at any stage during the inspection.
  • Be informed of the nature and extent of any imminent safety risk to a person or property caused by the small generation unit at the time of the inspection.

If you are unhappy with the conduct of the inspector, please contact the Clean Energy Regulator.

What happens if the inspector finds a safety risk?

If during the course of the inspection, the inspector finds that the installation presents an imminent safety risk the inspector will immediately do what is needed to make the installation safe. The inspector will undertake this action under the terms of their electrical licence. This may mean that the inspector disconnects or shuts down the system. The inspector will inform you of the nature and extent of the safety risk on the same day. The inspector will also advise the relevant state or territory regulator for electrical safety of the nature and extent of the safety risk.

The inspector has no authority to rectify faults in the installation during the inspection.

State and Territory government regulators are responsible for safe operation of the installation, particularly electrical safety. If an imminent safety risk is found, on the same day of the inspection, the inspector will contact the State or Territory government regulator and the Clean Energy Regulator to inform them of the nature and extent of the safety risk.

On completion of the inspection, the inspector will prepare a draft inspection report on the inspection that will be sent to the person that created the certificates and the designer and installer. This report will contain more detail on the safety risk and any other non-compliances identified during the inspection. These parties are provided the opportunity to make comment on the draft report, and these comments are taken into account when finalising the report.

Dependent on the installation warranty, the installer or related company may return to the installation to rectify the non conformances identified in the report.

Who will receive a copy of the final inspection report for an the Clean Energy Regulator inspection?

The Clean Energy Regulator must provide a copy of the inspector final inspection report for the installation at particular premises to the following persons:

  • The owner of the installation
  • The occupier of the premises
  • The person who created the certificates for the installation
  • The designer of the installation
  • The installer of the installation.

A copy of the final report is also provided to the Clean Energy Council and to the relevant state or territory regulator if the inspection found non-compliances relating State or Territory and local government requirements or the relevant standards as in force at the time the installation was installed.

When are the final reports available?

Under Regulation 43, the inspector must provide a draft report for comment to the designer, installer and person who created the certificates before finalising the report. The inspector must allow a reasonable opportunity to receive any comment.  Any comment provided must be taken into account when finalising the report. This process can take several weeks. Once the report is finalised, the inspector sends the final report to the Clean Energy Regulator .

As required under Regulation 44, the Clean Energy Regulator will provide the report to specified persons.

How is an inspection report prepared?

The inspector checks the installation against the criteria required for the creation of certificates. The Clean Energy Regulator has adapted a risk framework for its inspections which classifies any issues found as unsafe, rectification work required, medium, minor, non-regulatory and compliant.

Following an inspection, the inspector will prepare a draft inspection report. The report may also contain recommendations as to the steps that should be taken to rectify any problems discovered during the inspection and, in particular, how to ensure that any safety or operational problems discovered can be rectified. The draft inspection report must be provided for comment to the designer, installer and agent so that they have the opportunity to respond to the findings. If the designer, installer and agent disagree with the findings they must outline their case clearly in a response to the inspector. The inspector must also allow a reasonable opportunity to receive any comment.  The inspector must take into account any comment received when finalising the inspection report. The final inspection report is then provided to the Clean Energy Regulator.

What does the Clean Energy Regulator do with the final inspection report?

On receipt of the final report, the Clean Energy Regulator may investigate issues arising from the non-compliance, including whether the certificates have been properly created. This may result in civil or criminal prosecution of persons or companies that have been found to breach the relevant legislation.

If the final report contains evidence that there are non-compliances with State or Territory and local government requirements, or evidence of breaches of CEC Solar PV accreditation guidelines, the report will be sent to the relevant authority for information and appropriate action. Depending upon the circumstances, the respective State or Territory may take appropriate administrative or enforcement action. The CEC may also take appropriate action against accredited designers or installers, through downgrading, suspending or cancelling their accreditation.

What will the final inspection report contain?

The Clean Energy Regulator inspector will check that an installation is compliant with the requirements for the creation of small-scale technology certificates (STCs) under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000. It is the responsibility of the Clean Energy Regulator to administer the Act to ensure that certificates are legitimately created.

The final inspection report will contain a brief summary of how the inspection was conducted, an overall assessment based on the data collected during the inspection, and any comments made on the draft inspection report. 

These comments may include responses to the inspector’s recommendations on how the identified non-conformances can be rectified. The draft report will have been provided to the installer, designer and the person who created certificates for the system. 

The final report may also list the items for improvement identified by the inspector at the time of the inspection.

What to do if your inspection report has listed items for improvement.

The majority of items listed for improvement will not impact on the installation’s safety. The Clean Energy Regulator strongly advises that any rectification to the installation should be undertaken by a licensed electrician with Clean Energy Council Solar PV accreditation.

The Clean Energy Regulator does not advise unqualified persons attempt to address the identified items themselves. For your own safety, please engage a qualified person to rectify the issues.

Items for improvement identified may be warranty issues. For rectification, owners should contact the installation company with any warranty concerns. If the installation company refuses to act on the listed items and you would like to take matters further you can contact the relevant regulator of consumer protection in your State or Territory or the Clean Energy Council.

Who can you contact for more information?

  • If you would like more information about inspections you can contact the Inspections Manager at the Clean Energy Regulator on (02) 6159 7700 or retinspections@cleanenergyregulator.gov.au.
  • Further details of the matters for inspection are defined under Regulation 39 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 (the Regulations).
  • For more information regarding penalties and prosecution, visit the Compliance page.
  • The Clean Energy Council is responsible for accrediting Solar PV installers. For information on the Clean Energy Council and their accreditation program visit the CEC website.
  • If your inspections report lists items for improvement that are are warranty issues contact your installation company with any warranty concerns.
  • If the installation company refuses to act on the listed items for improvement your can contact the relevant regulator of consumer protection in your state.

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Date last updated: 09 Jan 2013