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Hundreds of Victorians caught in solar scandal

Hundreds of Victorians have been caught up in a solar panel installation scandal.

Space Solar has been banned from the government Solar Panel Rebate program for two years after safety defects were exposed and unlicensed electricians were used.

More than 500 customers who had panels installed under the program have been urged to have independent safety inspections.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says the audit system identified the dodgy operator.

“Our program is doing what it ought to do and is designed to do – pick up the dodgy installers and kicking them out of the system. That’s exactly what we’ve done.” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell this morning.

Ms D’Ambrosio said the audit system has only identified two unsafe solar systems installed by dodgy operator, Space Solar.

“We don’t want to alarm people, but it is important that we take due diligence. We’ve informed all of the people who’ve had this particular installer put a system on their roof for peace of mind,” she said.

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said people are not only out of pocket, but their safety is at risk.

“People are going to be forced to get safety checks at their own expense and goodness knows how many more unsafe systems have been put into Victorians’ roofs.”

The government will foot the bill for precautionary inspections of all other systems installed by Space Solar.

“To help out these people who’ve had a system installed by Space Solar under our program … we’re going to be picking up the cost of having that peace of mind inspection done,” she said.

Under consumer law, the retailer must pay for the cost of any repair work needed.

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