SAA Compliance

Compliance is a critical element of SAA accreditation. Our compliance procedure ensure Australian Standards, SAA Guidelines and other regulations are followed and the standard of work upheld. Quality work ensures that the reputation of the rooftop solar and battery storage industry is maintained so that demand for the industry remains strong. 

When SAA is made aware of a design or installation that does not meet relevant Australian standards, SAA Requirements or other regulations, we contact the responsible accredited person to inform them of the issue and the required actions to remediate the non-compliance. This may involve completing rectifications to address a specific non-compliance or complete an assessment to demonstrate competency to remain an accredited person. 

SAA’s compliance program interacts with compliance audit information provided by multiple sources. SAA’s primary source of compliance data is the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) inspections program administered by the Clean Energy Regulator (CER). 

SAA also acts on compliance matters brought to us by State/Territory Electrical Regulators, other Scheme Operators, Industry and Consumers. SAA takes a risk-based approach to compliance. 

SRES Inspections Program

CER Audits

Each year as required by law, the CER inspects a statistically representative sample of PV systems which have had small-scale technology certificates (STCs) created against them under the SRES for conformance with Australian standards and any other standards or requirements relevant to the creation of certificates. 

CER Inspectors

The CER engages service providers around Australia to provide expert inspection services in relation to grid-connected PV systems installations. These Service Providers engage CER appointed inspectors to conduct the inspections. The CER appointed inspectors must: 

  • have had sufficient training to maintain their accreditation with the accreditation scheme operator (ASO) 
  • aware of their responsibilities as an inspector 
  • hold an unrestricted electrical license in the state or territory they are conducting inspections 
  • have sufficient experience and knowledge of the Act and Regulations to critically examine system installations and prepare inspection reports 
  • maintain a good reputation within their industry and act with honesty and integrity. 

Inspections by Checklist

Under the SRES Inspections program, CER inspectors use a checklist for on-site inspection and reporting. The checklist was developed with industry experts and consolidates items from regulations, standards, and industry requirements. 

The checklist uses the following categories to rate installations: 

  • Compliant – Industry best practice, adequate. 
  • Substandard 
    • Does not meet key clauses in the standards and requirements for installation and may lead to premature equipment failure or other issues 
    • Does not pose an imminent safety risk, however the installation work and/or the equipment should be improved to meet relevant standards and industry guidelines 
  • Unsafe 
    • has a safety hazard which poses an imminent risk to a person or property 

Reporting to SAA

The CER must provide a copy of the final report to the Accreditation Scheme Operator (ASO) for the accreditation scheme under which the small generation unit installer and designer were accredited. From 29 February 2024, the ASO is SAA. 

SAA Demerit points

SAA will allocate demerit points as a result of:

  • Technical non-compliance;
  • Safety non-compliance;
  • Customer service non-compliance; 
  • Business practice non-compliance.

Demerit points can also be allocated for a breach of SAA Code of Conduct and/or SAA Requirements, inaccurate records, valid complaints from customers, inaccurate written statements, insufficient CPD points and any abusive or aggressive behaviour against SAA or their staff. 

Demerit point duration

Demerit points last for 2 years from the date they are given and are automatically removed after the 2 years have lapsed.  

However, if the Accreditee continues to consistently incur demerit points for similar work actions, the SAA may extend some or all the demerit points for up to 6 months and require the person to undertake remedial measures which may include additional competency training and assessment, oversight of their work, or additional inspections of completed work. 

Demerit Points vs Non-Compliance Points 

Accrual of non-compliance points 

Non-compliance points are based on the individual non-compliant items contained within the reports we receive, not on the overall categorisation of the report. See the table below for the number of non-compliance points associated with different categories of non-compliance – Unsafe, Needs Rectification, Medium non-compliance, and Minor non-compliance. 

 

SAA Non-compliance points structure 

SAA Category 

CER Inspection Category 

SAA Non-Compliance Points 

Description 

Unsafe 

Unsafe 

10 

The system poses an imminent risk of damage to property or persons. The system had to be shut down and made safe. 

Needs Rectification 

Needs Rectification 

6 

The system has failed to meet key requirements and poses a high risk that may lead to premature equipment failure or other issues. 

Medium non-compliance 

Medium non-compliance 

2 

The system has failed to meet requirements and poses a medium risk. 

Minor non-compliance 

Minor non-compliance 

1 

The system has failed to meet requirements and poses a low risk. 

 

Non-compliance points and demerit points

The total number of non-compliance points (per report) are used to establish Demerit Points against the installer’s accreditation in line with the table below: 

Non-compliance Points (per report) 

Demerit Points 

1 to 5 

1 

6 to 10 

2 

11 to 15 

3 

15 to 20 

4 

21 to 25 

5 

26 to 30 

6 

31 to 35 

7 

36 to 40 

8 

41 to 50 

9 

51 or more 

10 

 

SAA Compliance Process & Actions

SAA compliance process

When SAA receives a compliance matter, we will assess the information provided and issue the responsible accredited person with Demerit points and request rectification of non-compliances. The accredited person responsible will be given a timeframe in which to respond. 

 Failure to respond to requests from SAA may result in a ‘No Response Suspension’. Failure to respond to requests from SAA for a period of 6 months or greater may result in Cancellation of accreditation.  

 

Impact of Demerit Points 

  • If 21 or more demerit points are accrued in a 2 year period, the accredited person may be suspended or cancelled from the SAA accreditation scheme. This is covered in greater detail below in ‘Suspensions & Cancellations’. A show cause notice will be issued that sets out the reasons for the decision to suspend or cancel the accredited person from the SAA accreditation scheme. 
  • The notice to show cause will identify the right of review.  
  • If the accredited person completes an unsafe installation and has not rectified the work within 10 business days of receiving a final report from the Clean Energy Regulator, SAA may issue a notice to show cause for suspension. 
  • In a Suspended or Cancelled status, STCs cannot be claimed. 

Suspensions and Cancellations

  • First suspension – suspended from the program for 3 months – plus one month for every 4 points over the 21 point limit (no more than 6 months).  
  • Second suspension – suspended from the program for 6 months – plus one month for every 4 points over the 21 point limit (no more than 12 months). 
  • Third suspension (not within 5 years) – suspended from the program for 12 months  
  • Third suspension (within 5 years) – cancellation of accreditation for a minimum of 12 months  
  • Two cancellations in a 10 year period results in lifetime cancellation of accreditation without the possibility of becoming accredited again with SAA.  
  • SAA reserves the right to cancel accreditations for reasons beyond technical non-compliance. 

NOTE: A ‘No Response Suspension’ does not count towards the cumulative total of ‘Suspensions’ listed above. 

Returning from Suspension 

To come back into the SAA accreditation scheme following a suspension, the accredited person must sit an online assessment and pass with a min pass mark of 80%. Three attempts will be provided before the accredited person is locked out for a month from further attempts. 

Returning from Cancellation

To come back into the SAA accreditation scheme following a cancellation, the accredited person is required to retrain at an RTO before going through the SAA Accreditation process from the beginning. The training units completed at the RTO must align with the current accreditation pathways on the SAA website at time of application. 

Demerit Points following Suspension or Cancellation

Demerit Points reset to 0 when the accredited person re-enters the scheme from suspension or cancellation.