We recently reported on the new regulations announced by the Queensland government on 9 April 2019 which required that only licensed electricians could mount, locate, fix or remove solar panels on commercial solar farms in Queensland with a total rated capacity of at least 100 kW. A maximum fine of $5,222 applied for each non-compliance.
These regulations were however declared invalid by the Queensland Supreme Court on 29 May 2019, following a successful legal challenge by solar farm developer Maryborough Solar. The Court held that the regulations were beyond the Queensland government's powers to make regulations under the Electrical Safety Act because the nature of the work involved was not 'electrical work' and the regulations did not impact electrical safety in the way described by the government.
The Queensland government has however lodged an appeal against the Supreme Court's decision, and is in the process of seeking a stay of the Court's decision to ensure that the regulations remain operative pending the outcome of the appeal.
While there is significant uncertainty as to the future of these regulations, in the short term, it would be best practice for all stakeholders in large scale solar farm projects to ensure they continue to comply with the new requirements until further notice. This includes both projects that are currently under construction as well as new projects.
Watch this space!