After August allocations for the Victorian Solar Homes program ran out in 106 minutes, the Victorian Government has committed to increasing the number of rebates available in September, as well as for the rest of the financial year.
More than 23,000 extra Victorian households will benefit from the solar energy rebates in the coming year and the rebates will now be released fortnightly, rather than monthly.
The change will mean Victorian households don’t have to wait until the start of each month to apply for the popular program and ensure a more consistent supply of work for solar installers.
On top of bringing the rebates forward the industry has agreed to a package of reforms that will boost safety and quality, with more audit staff, stronger fraud prevention and better information sharing.
Victorians can be sure their chosen retailer is safe and reliable, with the government also establishing a public register of solar installers, with unsafe and unscrupulous installers removed from the program and named on the register. This will be supported by small business mentoring and workforce training for installers.
The Solar Victoria web portal will also be streamlined and improved to make it simpler for households to apply for a rebate.
An Industry and Consumer Reference Group will also be established, bringing together industry groups, consumers, Solar Victoria and government to provide ongoing advice and inform the decade-long rollout.
The announcement comes as welcome news for the Victorian solar industry and will ensure thousands of small businesses and solar installers can get back to business.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said the industry was pleased Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, had listened and taken action to fix the issues with the program ahead of the next allocation of rebates in September.
“The Clean Energy Council welcomes the additional support for the Solar Homes program and we will continue to work closely with the Andrews Government to ensure that all Victorians can benefit from the best quality, safest and most affordable solar systems in Australia,” Mr Thornton said.
“We believe the government’s decision to release close to three times the number of allocated rebates in September will help address the backlog of applications for rebates. This will help solar installers and businesses get back to what they do best – putting solar panels on the rooftops of Victorian families.
“This increased allocation of rebates increases the total number of rebates for this financial year to over 60,000, an increase of more than 50 per cent.
“Safety and quality are of the highest priority for the solar industry, and we are committed to working with the Andrews Government to ensure that high standards are part of the bedrock of this program.
“We welcome the announcement of additional safety and quality measures and look forward to working through the details with the government.”
The $1.3 billion Solar Homes program will install solar panels, hot water or batteries on 770,000 homes over the next ten years, saving Victorian households more than $890 a year on their energy bills. The program will also create more than 5,500 jobs, boost energy supply and reduce carbon emissions.