Can you trust Clean Energy Council Australia (CEC)

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Anyone who’s spent any time researching solar power has come across the letters CEC. Clean Energy Council Australia. In this article we take a closer look at what they do and why those three letters are so important.

Clean Energy Australia Report 2019

When we buy a new car, we don’t check whether or not it has seatbelts and airbags. In 2019 we know that’s a given. We know that there are minimal standards a manufacturer has to meet before cars are allowed into the country.

So we know cars are generally pretty safe, but we don’t know much about the quality of a car or if it’s good to drive. That’s what we do research and test drives for.

Solar power systems are similar. 

The government has set standards for solar power systems and you can generally be confident that the solar power systems that go up on our roofs, if installed properly, are safe. 

But safe isn’t all you’re looking for in a solar power system. You want it to generate electricity, be efficient, reliable and of good quality. Things the government is a little more relaxed on.

That’s where Clean Energy Council Australia comes in.

What does Clean Energy Council Australia do exactly

Clean Energy Council Australia provides advice to consumers and they work with the government on setting standards for retailers, installers and manufacturers.

Clean Energy Council Australia memberships and accreditations
The three programs Clean Energy Council Australia has to qualify companies.

These standards come in the form of memberships and accreditations. Retailers and installers have to apply with the CEC to become approved. The CEC requires information like how many people are working in your company, how long you’ve been in business and number of solar power installations your company has done.

This list aims to weed out the bad apples. Companies that have left customers without warranties, companies that have been sued and companies with a record of bad installations for example.

Solar power installers, retailers and importers pay a fee to join the CEC and to be accredited. For retailers this is up to $6,000 per year.

What if a retailer or installer doesn’t have CEC accreditation?

In the past couple of years there have been solar power companies that saw opportunity in the loose regulation from the government. That has left hundreds of thousands of households with no warranty on their solar power systems.

Perfect example of a bad installer. Notice how the installer is standing on the panels and his safety harness isn’t attached to anything.

In an effort to prevent that from happening again, the government has made CEC accreditation and retailer approval a requirement for acces to the government rebates. Meaning that if the company you buy your solar power system from isn’t CEC approved and/or doesn’t use CEC accredited installers, installing CEC approved product, you will not be eligible for government rebates.

Not meeting any of these requirements means you lose out on thousands of dollars in government rebates.

So, if I use a CEC approved retailer and CEC accredited retailer, I’m good, right?

Not exactly. Clean Energy Council Australia represents and works with over 600 businesses and more than 6000 installers. And while Clean Energy Council Australia itself is a non-profit, the companies they represent often are not. These companies hundreds, often thousands of dollars each year to be represented, and for that money they get influence into the decision making.

Some of the paid Clean Energy Council Australia memberships
Some of the memberships as can be found

As a result, the regulation is not as strict as it could be. It’s absolutely a big step in the right direction, but you should still do your research before signing any contracts. Read our article on how to avoid dodgy solar power retailers here.

All Solar Power Co retailers are CEC approved, use CEC accredited installers and CEC approved products, but we go further than just that. Click here to find out how and why Solar Power Co goes the extra mile.