Victorian households and the industry are rejoicing at the news of a massive boost to the number of solar panels rebates that will be made available starting next month.
The Victorian Government announced yesterday a tripling in the number of rebates for September and a total of 23,000 extra rebates for the financial year under their Solar Homes Program.
The announcement was a direct result of the intense lobbying of policy makers from all sectors of the solar industry, as well as customers.
“The rebate was putting an artificial cap on the industry, threatening jobs and frustrating customers,” said Luke Shavak from the Smart Energy Council. “The last few months have been very stressful for many in the solar industry. We are happy that the state government has listened to us and acted. Now everyone can get back to business as usual.”
How will the solar rebate work in Victoria?
Solar Victoria, the government body responsible for administering the rebate, announced that the program will release 6,500 rebates on Monday 2 September and a further 3,250 rebates two weeks later. This will bring to a total of 9750 for the full month.
Going forward, rebates will be released twice a month – rather than monthly. The purpose of this change, according to the government statement, is to ensure the customers don’t have to wait until the start of the month to apply for a rebate as well as ensuring a steady supply of work for installers.
In August, there were 3767 rebates available and the allocation was exhausted within 90 minutes on the first of the month.
“Pent up demand is really high,” said Luke Walford, Director of Macedon Ranges Solar Power and supplier to the MASH community solar bulk-buy in central Victoria. “We have around 80 customers ready to buy solar with the rebate. Hopefully most, if not all, can get the rebate in September and we can get back to normal. It’s a huge relief.”
The next three months will be the most generous, in terms of total number of solar panels rebates available. September is the stand-out month, with close to 10,000 rebates. In October and November, 6,500 will be released. After that, the allocations will drop to an average of 5,000 a month through to June 2020.
How much is the solar rebate in Victoria?
The Victorian Government has confirmed that the value remains unchanged at $2,225, or 50% of the cost of a solar power system – whichever is the lowest. An interest-free loan for the same amount as the rebate is also available.
The rebate will decrease in value over time; it drops to $1888 on January 1st and reduces further on July 1st 2020.
“The rebate is super popular,” said Jo Kaptein, organiser of the MASH community solar bulk-buy in central Victoria. “People love it. It brings solar within the financial reach of lots more people. Now that the cap has been lifted, solar installations are going to soar!”
Other changes to the program announced yesterday:
- A number of rebates will be set aside for manual applications for those people who do not wish to apply online.
- Retailers will be able to lodge final online quotes on the Solar Victoria Portal at any time, starting from 29 August.
- Post-installation audits will increase to ensure the safety of installations
- An Industry and Customer Reference Group will be established as well as a business mentoring program by Small Business Victoria.