The Australian Government offers strong financial incentives for individuals and small businesses to install rooftop solar systems through the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), operated by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER). For the past 15 years the Clean Energy Council has administered an accreditation program of installers and designers to help protect the integrity of the scheme and raise standards in the industry. Installers and designers must undertake proper training, prove competency and maintain continuous professional development obligations in order to earn accreditation by the Clean Energy Council and make claims against the SRES.
The CER has asked for applications for the role of accreditation scheme operator(s) and is expected to make an appointment in February 2024. The Clean Energy Council has chosen not to apply to continue as the accreditation scheme operator.
In 2007, the Clean Energy Council took on the responsibility of administering the accreditation program as we felt it was critical to growing the industry and believed few others were capable. The industry has grown and matured significantly since then and we believe we can now best support the industry through other areas.
Specifically, we have not applied to continue as the accreditation scheme operator for the following reasons:
The Clean Energy Council recognises the crucial importance of installer accreditation to the healthy functioning of our industry, and we are committed to working collaboratively with the CER to achieve the best outcome for consumers and installers through this process. For now, the accreditation program will operate exactly as it has until a decision is made by the CER on the outcome of the application process. In the meantime, we will continue to work with industry, government and community groups to support and advocate for the solar and battery industry and drive best practice in the sector.
Australia is number one in the world for rooftop solar but still has significant opportunity for growth while the broader journey towards electrification is just beginning. Getting there will require the correct policies, financial incentives, awareness and education campaigns, regulatory settings and workforce skills. We are working to help get those conditions right.
Targeted policy and advocacy to remove roadblocks and accelerate uptake
Our policy experts are working with governments, network providers and market operators to help create extra capacity on the distribution system to support the development of new solar generation and storage markets for consumers who can be rewarded for participating in. We are also working towards developing national and consistent standards, guidelines and regulations and encouraging uptake through consumer education, campaigns like Solar Month and lobbying for policies that support customers with the upfront costs of purchasing and connecting rooftop solar and batteries.
Administration of other industry programs to raise consumer confidence
The healthy functioning of the industry is also underpinned by the Approved Products and the New Energy Technology Consumer Code programs, both of which we administer. Improving the efficacy and scope of these programs as Australian homes and businesses electrify is critical to increasing consumer confidence. The CER is currently seeking applications for the role of the solar panel and inverter product listing body and we are preparing our application to retain this role.
Education and training to improve skills
Technology and standards are developing rapidly and it's vital those working in the industry stay on top. We have recently launched our myCEC subscription to extend our expert technical advice and tools to the whole industry, not just accredited installers and designers, and are investing in our Education services to improve industry knowledge and skills.
We have attempted to answer the most common questions below. However, until the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) make a decision on the outcome of their application process, details of the transition and future accreditation program won't be known but we are committed to working collaboratively with the CER to achieve the best outcome for consumers and installers through this process.
When will we know the outcome of the CER's accreditation tender
The Clean Energy Regulator is currently assessing applications for new scheme providers. The CER is currently aiming to publish the outcome of the process on its website in February 2024.
Will my accreditation still be valid after the Clean Energy Council stop administration? Can I still use the accreditation logo or other branding materials after the scheme ends?
Should the Clean Energy Council no longer administer the accreditation program installers will not be able to use the Clean Energy Council accreditation logo or other branding materials. Clean Energy Council Members will still be able to use the Membership logo however.
Will demerit points carry over to the new scheme operator? Will suspended and cancelled installers be eligible to apply to the scheme operator?
It is still to be determined what the CER and any prospective accreditation operator will do. We already share data on suspended and cancelled installers with the CER, and a new scheme operator may choose to use this data. We encourage accredited installers to continue to fulfill the obligations of the accreditation program including completion of CPD and cooperation with any compliance actions.
Will there be any refunds or compensation for fees paid for accreditation under the scheme?
We realise this is an important concern of installers and have raised this with the CER directly. The length of any future transition process should another organisation take over accreditation and how this would impact fees already paid is still to be determined. For now, we encourage accredited installers to continue to pay their annual fees when due to preserve their accreditation status.