The August round of allocations for the Victorian Solar Homes program has faced another disastrous month, with allocations for the program running out within 106 minutes, causing frustration to potential customers and small solar businesses.
Following the most recent exhaustion of allocations, the Clean Energy Council said that urgent changes are needed to the Victorian Solar Homes program or large numbers of small businesses in the state will go bust in the months ahead.
Clean Energy Council Director — Distributed Energy, Darren Gladman, said the program is threatening the survival of small solar businesses and some are already looking at closing their doors.
“Solar Homes has created a devastating boom-bust which is hitting many small solar businesses hard,” Mr Gladman said.
“Because the majority of Victorians are able to access the program, people are holding off installing solar altogether until they can claim the rebates. It means the state’s solar industry is being turned on and off like a tap – and for the whole of August the tap was only on for a couple of hours.
“Government programs should not be like trying to buy concert tickets, where access depends on whether you can get through in the few hours that it is open.
“The intention of the program was welcome, but the way it is being rolled out is turning into a worst-case scenario for the state’s solar industry. This is obviously the opposite of what was intended.
“Along with the industry’s woes, it appears that some consumers were unable to access the system this morning, aggravating those who were trying to take advantage of the program.
“The industry has put forward a range of options to improve Solar Homes, but the first step to fixing it is a recognition that there is a problem. We are calling on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to urgently intervene and lead a review to revisit the criteria for the program.”
This is devastating news for the Victorian solar industry, and follows the sudden closure of the program in April and a difficult July, when the scheme was full within 60 hours.
A survey undertaken by the Smart Energy Council of 60 Victorian solar businesses found a staggering 80 per cent of solar businesses polled have either closed or are concerned they will close as a result of the Solar Homes program.
Seventy-seven per cent of businesses said staff had been made redundant or were expected to be made redundant.