SOPHIE VORRATH. Clean Energy Regulator slams Murdoch solar scare campaign (Renew Economy 12-8-19)

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has called out the Murdoch media for “inaccurate” reporting on the standard and safety of rooftop solar installations, following the release of its latest national data on solar panel inspections in 2018.

The CER last month released the rooftop PV data as part of its Renewable Energy Target 2018 Administrative Report, revealing a small year-on-year rise in the number of “sub-standard” and “unsafe” installations.

As we reported here, the data showed a total of 80 systems – or 2.2 per cent of all installations – deemed to be “unsafe” in a year where small-scale solar installations (1-100kW) grew by 37 per cent. This was a slight increase on the 1.9 per cent of 2017-18.

The number of systems found to have committed the slightly lesser transgression of being “sub-standard” also increased just slightly, to 748 (of 3678 systems inspected), or 20.3 per cent, compared to 17.7 per cent at the end of July 2018.

At the time, the CER stressed in its statement accompanying the data that a substandard rating did not mean the whole system was substandard, but rather was based on “one or two relatively minor defects” in the installation that did not affect performance.

“There is often a spike in sub–standard inspection findings following the release of updated standards. For example, the new standard could require that a heavy duty conduit is used instead of a standard duty conduit.”

Nonetheless, the findings were reported, first in The Australian as “One in five solar units defective,” and then two weeks later in the Daily Telegraph under the headline “Complaints rise to one a day, as report reveals a quarter of home installations are faulty.”

The Courier-Mail in Brisbane went with the less inflammatory (but strikingly vague) headline of “Solar panels on Qld homes may be faulty, Clean Energy Regulator;” but then followed it up with an editorial calling on federal energy minister Angus Taylor to shut down rooftop “solar shonks.”

Two days later, the CER felt the need to release a new statement, noting that some of the reporting of its solar panel inspection results was, “in our view …not an accurate interpretation of the data.”

To read the full story on RenewEconomy sister site One Step Off The Grid, click here…

This article was published by Renew Economy on the 12th of August 2019. 

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