Buoyant solar market

Numbers of solar installation remain high, with the latest Green Energy Markets report showing 1.85 million small-scale technology certificates were created in July, which is even greater than June’s record of 1.84 million STCs. In the three months to June 5.2 million STCs were created, a healthy 10 per cent rise on the first quarter of the year and almost one third up on the June quarter of 2016. That makes the second quarter of 2017 the highest level of STC creation since Q2 2013 which recorded 5.29 million STCs.

Notably, it is also the sixth consecutive quarter of growth in certificate creation.

Turning now to solar water heaters 16,040 SWH systems created certificates in the June quarter, which was marginally up the 12-month average and 11 per cent up on the March quarter but 4 per cent below the same quarter of 2016. The quarter’s figures were helped along by the strong month of May, which saw 6,846 solar water heater systems creating certificates, the highest monthly level since May 2012.

As many as 41,565 PV systems created certificates in the June 2017 quarter which was up 8 per cent on the March quarter and 12 per cent greater than the prior 12-month average.

As with SWH, the number of PV systems creating certificates was boosted by increased May creation, which represented the highest monthly level since November 2014.

Total PV capacity creating STCs for the June quarter increased to 250 MW, off the back of the growing commercial market, reaching levels not seen since mid-2013.

At the end of June STC creation was tracking at 378,000 per week; 54 per cent above the target set by the Clean Energy Regulator.

If current levels of creation continue there would be a surplus of 6.88 million STCs by the end of the year, GEM advises.

However, it is conceivable that creation will be dampened by reduced certificate prices and the likelihood of continued lower prices for the remainder of the year.

 Throughout June the STC spot price remained around $39 (although forward prices were trading closer to $37) but then plummeted mid-July, losing close to $8.50 over the period of a fortnight.  Although the spot price recovered to $33 just days later it has since fluctuated between $28.50 and $32.50, indicating a period of price volatility.

Returning to the July Deemed Report, in the field of Solar PV SGU (small generation units) Formbay created the highest number of STCs representing 14.7 per cent market share; down from their record 16.6 per cent market share held in June.

Emerging Energy followed closely behind with 14.5 per cent market share, creating 444,000 STCs.

 In the PV retailer/wholesaler category, Advance Finance Solutions/One Stop Warehouse were again the highest creator representing 6.1 per cent of the market with 100,000 STCs.

Powerark Solar recorded the second highest volume at 89,000.

Following a massive drop in certificate creation in June, P&N Pty Ptd (trading as Eurosolar) increased its July creation by 27 per cent but is still 50 per cent below its prior monthly average creation. P & N remains in fourth place in the PV retailers/wholesales category behind Origin Energy.

However the Clean Energy Regulator recently issued a notice about action taken against P & N NSW Pty Ltd, which improperly created small-scale technology certificates following the installation of unapproved panels.

P & N NSW Pty Ltd has entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Clean Energy Regulator to take the necessary action to address its conduct, including the surrender of STCs claimed and action to ensure relevant systems meet requirements and guidelines.

The undertaking is available on the Clean Energy Regulator’s website, along with other current and previous enforceable undertakings.

 The Clean Energy Regulator takes fraud and deliberate non-compliance seriously, stating “In line with our 2017 compliance priorities, the Clean Energy Regulator is targeting the installation of unapproved panels through activities that reach across the STC creation chain.

“Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) participants who are involved in the installation of unapproved panels will be subject to enforcement action by the Clean Energy Regulator. We have a broad range of compliance and enforcement options, including suspension of registration and REC Registry accounts, enforceable undertakings and criminal or civil proceedings.

Those with concerns about the integrity of the SRES can contact the Clean Energy Regulator at CER-SRES-Compliance@cleanenergyregulator.gov.au. Any information provided will be treated with confidentiality unless otherwise agreed.