Victorian Solar Homes rebate: Hotly-anticipated July 1 re-opening affects solar installation quote levels

Victorian solar installation quoteVictorian solar installers demand increased rebates under Solar Homes Program

The current dip in Victorian solar installation quote applications is due to customers waiting for the second phase of the government’s Victorian Solar Homes rebate program to start.

That’s the verdict of market consultancy SunWiz, following a recent national analysis of solar quote applications. The data shows the usual dip in solar quote applications over Easter. This usually corrects itself after the holiday break.

However, in Victoria, the number of quotes for solar installations did not spring back. A likely cause is customers anticipating the next phase of the Victorian Solar Homes rebate beginning July 1.

Solar Homes program drives solar uptake

The analysis also showed the Solar Homes rebate drove a doubling of solar quotes after its launch in August 2018.

Victorian solar installation quote levels fall.

Graph showing Victorian residential solar quote levels. Source: SunWiz

In fact, phase 1 of the program closed following record applications last year. Phase 2 applications open on July 1.

Wilf Johnston is GM APAC at Enphase Energy and former MD of Energy Matters. He told SunWiz the Victorian Solar Homes program was effective as a financial incentive, but also in increasing public awareness of solar power.

“It was generally raising awareness of solar being available,” Johnston told SunWiz. “So what we’re seeing now is a lack of awareness among those customers. They’re not being hammered as much about buying solar as they were before.”

Johnston said some companies had benefited from an increase in solar installation quotes enough “to get them through the winter”.

Increasing Victorian solar installation quote applications

Despite the lull, Johnston said there are still “up-sell possibilities” around solar.

“The thing is to look and see who never qualified for the rebate in the first place. There are households with a higher net income who are still in the market, they could never get [the rebate]. And then you’ve got the upgrades.”

Johnston described many residential solar systems as “significantly under-powered”. He said this was especially true of residential battery storage.

Solar retailers could take this opportunity to engage these customers, Johnston suggested, rather than waiting for the “low hanging fruit” produced by the Solar Homes rebate.

The $1.3 billion Victorian Solar Homes program provides rebates of $2,225 or 50 per cent on the cost of a solar panel system.