Retailers of solar systems in Victoria will be forced to sign a code of conduct to demonstrate that they meet reasonable quality and safety standards if they are to participate in a ten-year government program to install solar panels on rooftops, the government in that state has announced.

Announcing the moves on Friday, Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio said that from July 1, major solar retailers who participate in the government’s Solar Homes program will have to sign up to the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Retailer Code of Conduct if they wish to continue.

All non-major retailers taking part in the program will have until the 1 November to become signatories to the Code.

Announced last year, the ten-year Solar Homes program enables households to claim rebates of up to $2,225 on the cost of a solar panel system (PV) or $1,000 where they replace their existing hot water systems with solar hot water.

Over its ten year duration, the package is expected to deliver subsidised solar electricity panels to 700,000 homes (including 50,000 rental properties), solar hot water systems to 60,000 homes and solar batteries to 10,000 homes.

To be eligible for participation, retailers will now need to sign up to the CEC’s code of conduct, which is designed to ensure that households who purchase solar are treated fairly.

Specifically, the Code requires retailers to:

  • Ensure that advertisements and promotions are truthful and comply with relevant legislation.
  • Adhere to ethical sales and quoting practices
  • Provide consumers with a written contract which must contain certain specific information
  • Inform consumers that they need approval from their electricity distributor to connect to the grid
  • Provide for cooling off periods (in the case of unsolicited sales), refunds (where appropriate) and a standard minimum warranty of ten years.
  • Facilitate connection of the panels to the grid.
  • Show consumers how the performance of the system can be measured.

D’Ambrosio said requiring retailers to sign up to the Code will help to protect consumers.

“We’re making sure that safety and quality is the number one consideration for providers delivering our Solar Homes package,” D’Ambrosio said.

“This Code of Conduct will make it easier for households to know what they’re entitled to and easier for retailers to do the right thing.”