Supreme Court rules Queensland solar regulation invalid
The solar regulation introduced by the Queensland Government has been declared invalid by the Supreme Court of Queensland, following a legal challenge by Maryborough Solar.
The Electrical Safety (Solar Farms) Amendment Regulation 2019 required the use of licensed electrical workers to mount and fix unplugged solar panels on projects larger than 100 kW, which has been done successfully in the past by skilled labourers and trades assistants.
Maryborough Solar, owner of the Brigalow Solar Farm in Southern Queensland, took legal action against the rule on 17 May, four days after it came into force. It claimed it was inconsistent with the Electrical Safety Act (2002).
In delivering his determination, Justice Bradley declared the amendment regulation Section 73A to be beyond the regulation-making powers of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Act. This has been welcomed by the Clean Energy Council (CEC), with Director – Energy Generation Anna Freeman describing the ruling as “a victory for common sense”.
“The industry is obviously disappointed that this issue came down to a court challenge. Our preference was for a proper consultation process and full consideration of its regulatory impact. Mounting and fixing unconnected solar panels to a rail is mechanical work — not electrical work — and we are very pleased the Supreme Court of Queensland has ruled in the industry’s favour,” she said.
She continued by stating the industry remained committed to working with the government and all interested stakeholders to deliver continuous safety improvements in the solar industry.
“The solar industry recognises that safety is paramount, but this new regulation did nothing to improve the safety of workers and was not justified by the government’s own safety data.
“Any future changes should be formulated in consultation with the industry and all relevant stakeholders, and should be based on evidence. We look forward to working with the Queensland Government to help achieve our shared aims of safely delivering on its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.”
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