Besieged Victorian Premier considers expanding Solar Homes rebate program

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

A besieged Premier Daniel Andrews says he might consider raising the number of rebates available under Victoria’s Solar Homes Program. In the past fortnight, the Premier has faced protests by solar installers angry about the Victoria solar rebate scheme’s quota cap and poor implementation.

Solar installers will hold a second rally for change tomorrow, August 8, after Victorians swallowed up this month’s allocation of 3,767 solar rebates in just 90 minutes on August 1.

The original scheme began in August 2018, providing rebates of $2,225 to households for the installation of rooftop solar power. But it quickly fell victim to its own success, with the initial phase closing due to overwhelming demand.

Solar installers protest outside Victoria’s Parliament House calling for expansion of the Solar Homes Program. Image: Andrew Shaw.

The Age reported this week that Premier Andrews would “be happy to look at expanding the amount of installs each month”.

However, quality and safety assurances were paramount to any decision on lifting quotas, he added.

‘Real pain and anger’: solar industry steps up action

The Smart Energy Council is planning a second Melbourne rally tomorrow, Thursday August 8, at 11am outside the Premier’s Treasury Place office.

SEC chief John Grimes said solar businesses should not pay the price of incompetent government policy. He is calling on the government to lift the monthly allocation of rebates, or see Victoria’s once-booming solar industry fail.

In addition, the government could lower the rebate amount, thereby increasing the pool of funds available for monthly allocations.

Households delaying solar installations

Households were holding off buying solar power systems until they could receive government rebates, Grimes said.

He also refuted the Premier’s claims that quotas had been slowed over safety concerns.

“You don’t ensure safe installations by sending the industry’s best and most experienced installers broke.”

Victoria solar rebate scheme putting brakes on market

New data shows Victoria experienced a slow-down in solar installations since monthly rebate quotas were introduced.

Figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, reported in RenewEconomy, reveal Victoria’s residential solar installation market has shrunk since May.

An examination of national small-scale technology certificate (STC) data — the subsidy paid for rooftop PV systems under 15 kW in capacity — to July, found Victoria lagged every other state in the country.

The Victorian Government’s cap of 42,000 rebates for the 2019/20 financial year means this lag will continue for some time, the report states.

However, the Premier’s olive branch on quotas might just be enough to fix a broken system.

Solar Installers Rally, 11am, Thursday, August 8, 2019 outside the Premier’s office, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.