NSW sparkies banned for solar rort

·2-min read

Electricians have been banned from the NSW construction industry for signing off on work while they were overseas.

NSW Fair Trading revoked the licences of seven electricians between March and August after investigations by the agency's disciplinary action unit.

One man signed off on 161 solar panel installations across NSW, despite not even being in the state.

"The man took advantage of the Commonwealth Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and received tens of thousands in government rebates for installations that he did not install or inspect himself," NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann said on Friday.

Six of the contractors who have been stripped of their licences had certified work they could not have inspected because they were overseas or interstate on the certification dates, Fair Trading said.

A seventh was in Sydney when signing off on work at job sites in regional NSW.

"We are warning NSW consumers who are getting solar panels installed to check that the person on the roof attending to the wiring is a licensed electrician with the credentials required to work in this state and carry out solar panel installations," Ms Mann said.

Qualified contractors need to maintain high professional standards so consumers can hire with confidence, she said.

"In light of the fact that electric shocks are the second biggest cause of death in the NSW construction industry, we also want to ensure solar installation work sites are safe places," she said.

"It is the solar panel installers, those properly certifying the work, who are responsible for ensuring the safety of those on premises and ensuring safe work methods are in place."

Contractors should be able to show customers an electrician's licence and a Clean Energy Council accreditation, Ms Mann said.

Consumers can check these via the Service NSW website and the council's website.

Those claiming rebates for solar installations need to provide visual proof of site attendance across the project's life as from November 2021.