National News

Energy minister turns heat on solar sector

The federal energy minister wants to shine a light on what he perceives as possible integrity issues with solar panels.

Angus Taylor has launched a two-month investigation involving his department and the Clean Energy Regulator to focus on four main areas.

They are the Clean Energy Council's solar accreditation processes, the integrity of installers, financing practices and unaccredited operators in the market.

Mr Taylor says he wants to protect the integrity of the system.

"I have asked the Clean Energy Regulator, with the support of my department, to investigate the issues raised in a range of recent reports focused on the integrity of the rooftop solar sector," he said

"Australians are world leaders in the uptake of rooftop PV, shown by the uninterrupted strong growth in rooftop solar.

"Protecting the integrity of a system that has such a wide ranging impact on Australian households and businesses is a top priority."

Mr Taylor's office insists it's not an attack on renewables but instead an effort to ensure public confidence.

The minister is concerned about reports of defective installations, non-compliance and hardball selling tactics.

The Clean Energy Council fears the review could become politicised, saying the solar industry is already heavily regulated and scrutinised.

It says it welcomes any genuine review of the regulations and oversight of the industry to ensure customers get better outcomes.

"However, the Clean Energy Council would be deeply concerned if this became politicised as was the case in 2015 when the Abbott government initiated a review of the solar industry as part of its campaign to reduce support for renewable energy," it says.

The group says governments could improve their approach to electrical safety, licensing and auditing.

It also suggested improving consumer affairs and oversight of competition and marketing claims across the industry.

© AAP 2020