Solar Victoria Signals QR Code Scanning Crackdown

It seems some solar installers have been naughty when it comes to customer QR code scanning practices under Victoria’s Solar Homes Program.

Under the Program, which provides Victoria’s solar panel rebate and other incentives, Solar Victoria issues applicants a unique eligibility number and QR code once they are confirmed as eligible to receive whatever incentives applied for.

Among the retailer terms and conditions of the Program is the following (bolding mine):

“For rebates and/or loans to apply to installation of an Eligible System, the Retailer must ensure that the Installer (whether the Retailer itself or its nominated Installer) downloads the Solar Victoria Application and uses the application to scan the Customer QR code on site at the property at the commencement of the installation of the Eligible System.”

The QR code verifies the details of installation; including name, address and more importantly, eligibility for the rebate. Scanning the code links an accredited installer to the job.

In its latest update, Solar Victoria says:

“Unfortunately, we’re detecting some non-compliant practices which is placing some retailers and installers at risk of being suspended or removed from our programs. Correct scanning of QR codes provide an extra level of safety for everyone.”

It would be a pretty uncomfortable situation for everyone involved if halfway through the install or after it was discovered the customer was no longer eligible for the rebate. But additionally, proper QR code scanning helps ensure a job is starting off the right way – with an accredited installer on-site.

“It is unacceptable to scan the customer QR Code during the installation or when the installation has been completed,” states the agency. “If there is no access to the customer QR code, the installation cannot proceed.”

Solar Victoria said it was elevating its focus on customer QR codes with regulators.

More On-Site Attendance Requirements

It’s also a requirement in Victoria and across Australia under Section 6 of the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC’s) Install and Supervise Guidelines for an accredited installer to be on-site for a minimum of three key stages of the installation; being:

  • job set up
  • mid-way check-up
  • testing and commissioning.

Evidence demonstrating on-site attendance needs to be collected for each of the three stages – more on that here. Failure to produce evidence when requested can result in the Clean Energy Regulator being unable to assess an STC claim or fail it – at the time of lodgement or after a review. STCs are the bits of virtual paper that form the basis of the national “solar rebate”.

The CEC notes failed STCs may involve the installer/retailer having to repay money to a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) agent; and:

“Accredited Installers who make false statements of STC eligibility risk cancellation of their CEC accreditation, the revocation of their state or territory electrical license or civil proceedings commenced by the Clean Energy Regulator.”

So, there’s a lot to be said for doing things by the book – even if it is a pain in the butt to ensure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

Latest Solar Homes Activity Stats

In other news from Solar Victoria, the agency said extreme weather events in October contributed to lower installation volumes last month – but the level of new applications was steady. However:

“Our ability to process applications has also been impacted by recent weather events, with some of our customer experience officers supporting the flood emergency response.”

During October 2022:

  • 5,171 applications approved (268,033 since August 2018)
  • 3,777 installations completed (229,706 since August 2018)

Since the program commenced in August 2018 and to the end of October 2022, the following installations have been supported with a Solar Homes incentive:

The $1.3 billion, 10-year initiative aims to help 778,500 Victorian households reduce the upfront costs of installing solar PV, hot water or battery systems.

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