April 11 (Renewables Now) - The government of Queensland, the northeastern Aussie state, will adopt new regulations for solar panel installation that will allow only qualified electricians to work on systems bigger than 100 kW, prompting a huge wave of opposition and fears about the impact on local employment.
In a Twitter post earlier this week, Queensland’s minister for education and industrial relations Grace Grace said that the code of practice will come into effect on May 13. It will restrict the installation, location, fixing or removing of photovoltaic (PV) systems of 100 kW and above only to licensed electricians. Safety reasons are cited as the main reason for the new rule.
The Clean Energy Council (CEC) on Wednesday slammed the proposal as “rushed” and said it would risk hundreds of local jobs and slow down the state’s solar rollout by putting some projects to a halt.
According to the new regulations, solar farm owners will have to hire licensed electricians to perform simple tasks such as lifting and bolting solar panels onto mounting frames, said Anna Freeman, CEC’s director of energy generation, adding that this will result in fewer jobs for locals, as such a large number of qualified personnel is not available in the region, and put increased pressure on the availability of electricians throughout the state.
CEC noted that the regulations were introduced suddenly and “without clear justification and negligible consultation” and urged the government to rethink the proposal.