Solar Panel Validation Tool Assists Selection Of Quality Panels

Solar Panel Quality Check Australia

After poor quality solar system installations and scams became a recurring topic and nightmare for some Australian’s in previous years, the Clean Energy Regulator has partnered with the solar industry, developing a tool to assist in minimising the risk of solar panels being installed that do not meet the Australian standards for quality and performance.

The tool has been developed under the Solar Panel Validation Initiative (SPVI) and aids solar installers and retailers to easily identify panels that are approved under the SRES Federal Government Rebate and that meet Australian standards in quality.

Being able to easily identify these panels for customers has facilitated a straightforward way for customers to select panels in which they can claim under the SRES Federal Government Rebate.  Being able to claim the SRES Federal Rebate when installing a solar system can substantially reduce the overall upfront costs of the system and installation for customers without compromising on quality.

Solar Panel Validation Initiative (SPVI)

The Solar Panel Validation tool comprises of;

  • A mobile app for installers/retailers
  • A database of manufacturer’s serial numbers that have been validated and are approved under the SRES Federal Government Rebate

When engaging with a solar installation company a customer can enquire if they are participating in SPVI. If so, the installer will be able to perform the below steps which will provide a customer with validation that they can claim under the SRES Federal Government Rebate.

The customer will also be provided with a record consisting of; the make and model of the solar panels, the serial number, the time, date and the location of installation. Record of these can prove extremely useful should there be any repairs, warranty claims or upgrades needed in the future.

How The Solar Panel Validation Initiative Works?

  1. Installer scans serial number on panels using the SPVI smart phone app
  2. A request is sent to manufacturer or third-party database for validation
  3. Installer receives a confirmation if the panels are verified and can finalise or book the installation
  4. Customer receives signed record which is forwarded to the Clean Energy Regulator
  5. Clean Energy Regulator can then validate small-scale technology certificates (STCS) which are required to claim the SRES Federal Government Rebate.

SPVI Process

Image Sourced From CER

Overall Benefits Of The Solar Panel Validation Initiative

In addition to ensuring customers install panels in which they can claim the SRES Federal Government Rebate, the Solar Panel Validation Initiative will also guarantee customers are selecting panels that are backed by manufacturer warranties.

For those working within the solar industry there is added reassurance that they are working with quality panels and lowers the risk of installing poor-quality panels which can damage the reputation of the installer, company and solar industry in Australia.

How To Participate If You Are An Installer or Manufacturer?

Participating in the new initiative is available for solar panel manufacturers and installers approved under the Clean Energy Regulator and Clean Energy Council (CEC). Being part of the database can also assist in minimising the processing time when claiming the SRES Federal Government Rebate for customers.

As an approved installer or retailer you can start using the app by contacting one of the solar industry partners via The Clean Energy Regulator Here.

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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.