New solar installation rules in Queensland now in force

Rooftop solar system. Author: Centre for Alternative Technology. License: Creative Commons. Attribution 2.0 Generic

May 17 (Renewables Now) - From the start of this week only licensed electricians can mount, fix or remove the photovoltaic (PV) panels at solar parks bigger than 100 kW in Queensland.

The northeastern Australian state’s new regulations for commercial installation of solar capacity came into force on May 13 not only for new projects, but also for parks currently under construction. Safety reasons are cited as the main reason for the new rule. Fines of up to AUD 5,222 (USD 3,600/EUR 3,220) are to be imposed where noncompliance is detected.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) warned that solar projects will be facing delays if they cannot find electricians to do the work. It also said solar installation jobs will be lost.

“The higher costs associated with imposing this change mean that investment in Queensland will slow and some investment decisions will be shelved. We have already been told by a number of our members that their projects now look more uncertain due to this new regulation,” Anna Freeman, CEC’s Director of Energy Generation, said early this week.

“These new regulations add nothing but red tape to solar farm installations. They don’t enhance safety, they don’t improve performance and they don’t boost clean energy production,” Malcolm Richards, CEO of Master Electricians Australia, said on Tuesday. The organisation is supporting the Queensland Opposition’s move to have State Parliament disallow the new regulations.

A recent document by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) shows that work is in progress on a number of utility-scale solar projects in Queensland. It is not clear if and how the new rules will impact the progress of some of these projects. See the table for information on the planned full commercial use date.

Generator name Full commercial use date modelled
Brigalow Solar Farm April 2020
Clare Solar Farm October 2019
Haughton Solar Farm July 2019
Kennedy Energy Park July 2019
Lilyvale Solar Farm July 2019
Oakey 1 Solar Farm August 2019
Oakey 2 Solar Farm November 2019
Rugby Run Solar Farm December 2019
Warwick Solar Farm November 2020
Yarranlea Solar Farm January 2020

(AUD 1 = USD 0.7/EUR 0.62)

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