Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12289

Renewable Energy Certificates

(Question No. 610)

Mr Forrest asked the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, in writing, on 19 September 2011:

(1) In respect of Renewable Energy Certificates, can he indicate what measures, if any, are in place to protect customers who have paid up-front for solar panels, but not received them because the installer is in receivership.

(2) To qualify for Renewable Energy Certificates, are installers of solar panels required to (a) demonstrate that they have Clean Energy Council accreditation, and (b) lodge a bond or provide surety or insurance to cover any financial or workmanship default.

(3) In the case of Solar Shop Australia, can he indicate whether the Government is requesting that the receivers honour the installation of unfinished works.

Mr Combet: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Renewable Energy Regulator (the Regulator) and the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) were established by the Howard Government in 2001, under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, to administer the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme. The RET is not a Government rebate scheme and does not provide public funds. The RET provides for registered persons to create certificates and sell those certificates privately to liable parties. There is no role for the Regulator or the ORER in settling the sale of these certificates or monitoring contracts which relate to those certificates.

The RET does not prescribe the market models employed by participants. The onus is on contractual parties to undertake their own due diligence around the ability and commitment of their counterparty to abide by contractual conditions. As the Regulator and the ORER have no enforcement powers in relation to market conduct or enforcing contracts, their standard practice is to advise anyone with an issue about marketing or payment issues to contact their relevant Fair Trading Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as appropriate to the complaint. This advice was given to all those who contacted the ORER. In the case of companies that are in receivership or administration they should also contact the appointed receiver or administrator.

Once the Clean Energy Future legislation is passed, the RET will be administered by the Clean Energy Regulator which will have additional powers to deal with this type of behaviour. In particular, the Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011 includes specific provisions to increase the Regulator's powers to refuse registration or suspend registration.

(2) (a) Yes, to be eligible to create certificates for solar panels systems under the RET they must be installed and designed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installer. The CEC installer must also sign a range of written statements before certificates can be created, including a written statement that they installed the system to meet the requirements of the local/state/territory government, that they completed the installation along with their CEC accreditation number. Further details are available on the ORER website at:

(b)There is no requirement in the RET scheme that the installer must have surety or insurance to cover any financial or workmanship default. However, there are requirements as part of their CEC accreditation to have insurance requirements including Certificate of Currency/Proof of Public Liability Insurance cover that have a minimum $5 million coverage.

(3) As stated in the response to part (1), the ORER does not have legal power to intervene in contractual matters. This is a matter for the contracted parties and the receivers.