Solar installer convicted of fraud

A 48-year-old Wagga Wagga man was sentenced on December 10, 2019 to an 18-month Good Behaviour Bond and fined $5000 by the Wagga Wagga local court, following an investigation by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Craig William Burmeister, a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited solar installer and licensed electrician, pleaded guilty to breaching section 145.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, which relates to the ‘Giving of information derived from false or misleading documents’.

Mr Burmeister was convicted of falsely claiming to have conducted eight solar installations in 2016, and signed small-scale technology certificate documents and Certificates of Electrical Compliance relating to these installations under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Related article: Draft 2020 Integrated System Plan released

At the time the offending was identified, the solar installations were inspected and found to meet all safety requirements. Certificates of electrical compliance were subsequently issued.

The prosecution was managed by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Clean Energy Regulator requires a high level of compliance with scheme obligations, and has a range of monitoring and enforcement powers under legislation.

Related article: ARENA launches $15m funding round to address solar issues

Fraudulent activity, such as providing false information to create small-scale technology certificates, is a threat to the integrity of the schemes administered by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Individuals and companies who wilfully commit an act of fraud or non-compliance will be subject to enforcement action by the Clean Energy Regulator, which may lead to criminal conviction, financial penalties or terms of imprisonment.