Victorian Solar Homes subsidy: Round 2 applications started July 1

Solar Homes program needs immediate reform say industry bodies.Solar Victoria needs reform, industry says.

The Victorian government has officially launched round 2 of its $1.3 billion Victorian Solar Homes program. The Victorian Solar Homes scheme was a resounding success after its launch last year.

SInce July 1, eligible households can claim $2,225 off the price of rooftop solar panels, or 50 per cent of the system price (which ever is lowest).

The subsidy will apply to retailers at the point of sale, so customers must first get a quote from a registered solar provider. The provider then claims the subsidy and deducts it from the total cost of the system.

Households line up for rebates as round 2 of Victorian Solar Homes scheme kicks off.

Households line up for rebates as round 2 of Victoria’s Solar Homes program kicks off.

Since its launch in August 2018, the Solar Homes program has delivered 32,000 rebates. The government says the 2019/2020 phase of the program will:

  • support the installation of 40,000 rooftop solar systems on private homes and community-owned housing;
  • deliver 2,000 solar panel systems to rental properties;
  • deliver solar battery rebates to 1,000 households that already have rooftop solar and are in designated ‘growth’ suburbs.

Victorian Solar Homes scheme process changes

However, the government has now put a limit on the number of subsidies it offers each year.

According to The Age newspaper, the government will release a fixed number each month, capped at 3,333 homes.

And under the revamped program, applications for solar PV installation subsidies will now occur via an online portal on the Solar Homes website.

Rooftop solar at zero upfront cost with interest-free loans

It is now possible for eligible homeowners to go solar with zero upfront cost. That’s because the Solar Homes package gives households interest-free loans of $2,225, repaid over four years.

Under the new application process, both the subsidy and the loan amounts are deducted from the upfront cost of the solar power system. This means households can install a 4 kW system, worth  roughly $4,450, without any initial outlay.

In addition, federal rebates are still available on the cost of rooftop solar power.

Rebates for 1,000 batteries, but only in solar ‘growth’ spots

In 2019/20 the Victorian Solar Homes scheme will also offer a limited 1,000 subsidies of up to $4,838 for solar battery systems.

Only households with solar panels already installed and which have not previously accessed rebates may apply for the battery subsidy.

The pilot storage program is aimed at select ‘growth’ suburbs with high areas of solar penetration. Criteria for a ‘growth’ suburb are:

  • At least 10 per cent of homes in the suburb must have solar panels.
  • They must be in an area where the electricity grid can cope with the additional power the battery will input.