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Read this page to find out more information on some of the commonly asked questions about the Clean Energy Council's Product Assurance Program.

Product FAQs

Where can I find more information on the Product Assurance Program?

More information about the Product Assurance Program can be found in the Product Assurance Program 2018 Annual Report.

Where can I find more information on warranties and insurance for the Australian solar market?

ecogeneration has a free Warranties and Insurance E-Guide that provides a summary of the relevant legislation, rules, codes and guidelines in the Australian solar market.

Can I install a product that is not on the list?

For small-scale technology certificate (STC) creation, products must be on one of the Clean Energy Council’s Approved Product Lists at the time of installation. Please ensure you check regularly as products may be de-listed at any time.

Most network providers also have requirements around current product approval within their connection agreements.

Products may be removed from a list if the certificate on which the listing was based becomes invalid or the products were found not to conform to the certificate.

If a product is to be removed from a list, the Clean Energy Council advises the manufacturer of the impending delisting and tells them to notify their distributors in Australia. In some instances, installers may not receive this notification.

The Clean Energy Council sends out de-listing notifications to installers via the monthly Installer News email.

How can I be sure my PV module is compliant and approved?

The Clean Energy Council's listing of compliant PV modules shows the certificate holder, model number, power rating and certifier for each approved module. This must correspond directly with the module label.

The modules must be advertised and sold under the certificate name and model numbers which are used on the Clean Energy Council list. Brand names may only be used in association with the certificate holder name and must be owned by the certificate holder.

The module label must show the correct TUV Certifier Mark (logo) corresponding to the Clean Energy Council listing. Installers or inspectors may send a photo of the label to [email protected] to check against the Clean Energy Council’s file copy.

What product listing requirements do I need to follow when replacing a panel or inverter under warranty?

Products only need to be listed with the Clean Energy Council at the time of installation for claiming of STCs and for connection approval within many distribution networks.

Like-for-like replacement for a faulty panel/inverter is regarded as a repair under AS 3000. Therefore, the replacement panel/inverter only needs to conform to the standards that applied at the time of original installation. This applies to product listing as well.

A technical note with detailed requirements for alterations, additions, repairs and upgrades to existing systems is available in the login area.

What enhanced levels of quality and testing are available for PV modules?

The modules on the Clean Energy Council Approved Products List meet the relevant Australian and International Standards. This is a minimum requirement and there is a range of enhanced PV module tests and certifications above the minimum standards.

High-quality modules are built on three foundations:

  • excellent design
  • manufacturing best practice
  • proven bill of materials

To ensure you are buying quality modules you should consider the following:

  • choose a high-quality manufacturer
  • ensure you specify high-quality components
  • appoint an agent to oversee the production of your modules at the factory
  • arrange third-party testing of a sample of the modules in Australia
  • ensure the modules are suitable for the environment you are installing in.

Quality certification

The following testing programs can give consumers and installers more information on the quality of the modules they are looking to install.

VDE Quality Tested

Rigorous testing and surveillance of existing standards is provided by the VDE Quality Tested program.

This certification program has been developed to provide assurance of increased reliability and durability of modules. Along with quarterly laboratory testing of a sample of production modules, it also requires production line sample testing on a daily basis, with some tests required for 100 per cent of production.

Some of the testing involves additional test cycles and higher sampling rates than required by the international standards. The associated VDE Quality Tested certificate ensures that all production modules meet the very high standards set.

The Clean Energy Council Approved Products List includes a column to show whether the product meets this level of testing.

Manufacturers should submit details by email at the time of applying for approval.

IEC 62941

IEC 62941 guidelines for increased confidence in PV module design qualification and type approval.

This new IEC standard was released in January 2016. It is a version of IEC 9001 quality standard that provides PV module design and manufacturing certification. A certification to this standard gives a high degree of confidence that the modules will meet their claimed warranty lifetime.

The Clean Energy Council plans to show those modules with this certification on its Approved Products List in future.

Special environment testing

For particular environments, it is necessary to ask for certification to additional standards. These include:

  • coastal environments – your modules should be certified to IEC 61701 for salt mist corrosion
  • intensive farming sheds – certified to IEC 62716 for ammonia corrosion
  • commercial systems above 600 Vdc – certified to IEC 62804 for potential induced degradation
  • cyclonic regions – we recommend module and framing assembly should be tested by the cyclone testing station at James Cook University
  • desert regions – certified to IEC 60068-2-68 wind-blown dust and sand
  • snow regions – certified for snow load of 5400 Pa or higher (per IEC 61215 enhanced test).

The important thing to note is that a manufacturer datasheet may advertise the modules are certified to an enhanced standard. However, it may be that not all the materials permitted by the IEC 61215/61730 certification may have been tested for the enhanced certification.

In other words, the enhanced certificate may only be relevant for a sub-set of the components permitted to be used in the main certificate. Unless you specifically request these enhanced features, you may not get them.

The best way to be sure you are getting what you require is to negotiate with your supplier for the actual components they will be using in your modules, and ensure these component combinations meet the enhanced standards, as well as the base 61215/61730 standards.

The Clean Energy Council will show those modules which meet these standards on its Approved Products List if it is demonstrated that all materials for that model number are covered by the enhanced certification.

Manufacturers should submit a request and details by email at the time of applying for approval.

Other testing and certification programs

Other enhanced testing programs include:

  • DNV-GL (PVEL) Product Qualification Program
  • Qualification+
  • TÜV SÜD Thresher Test
  • Atlas 25+
  • PV+ test and Fraunhofer
  • PVDI

These test a series of individual modules and do not necessarily provide certification of production modules. Many programs are designed to inform the manufacturers about the durability of their materials.

Even if a model number is certified for these standards, modules with the same model number that are shipped to Australia may not contain the same materials and therefore may not pass these standards.

These will only be accepted for listing by the Clean Energy Council as enhanced quality if the certification covers all products with these model numbers, and all components have been tested to the higher standards.