The Victorian solar industry is calling on the Premier to urgently reform the Solar Homes program and remove the current monthly cap that is causing significant disruption to small solar businesses across the state.
Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said the intent of the program is welcome, but the monthly cap of 3,333 rebates for home solar systems is stifling the solar industry.
“We urge Premier Andrews to reduce the value of each rebate to make more rebates available, or to reduce the income threshold for eligibility so that the rebate is available to fewer customers. This would lessen the impact of the program on the Victorian solar industry,” Thornton said.
“Solar businesses are being forced to lay off workers and scale back their operations because of the devastating boom-bust cycle that has been created. Some have told us they will have to close their business because they don’t have enough cash flow to keep the doors open.
A program designed to support the industry is having the opposite effect, he said.
“We have highlighted our concerns with the Premier and the government. The need for action is urgent. Because the eligibility criteria are wide enough to include most home-owners, people are delaying their purchase while they wait for the limited pool of rebates available each month.
“The industry has endured months of stopping and starting and the situation is really starting to bite. It is important that the Victorian Premier starts to listen to the many small businesses who are just trying to make a go of it but are being driven to the wall.”
Thornton suggested ways to remove the artificial cap, such as:
- reducing the annual income eligibility threshold;
- increasing the number of rebates available by reducing the value of each rebate, or;
- bringing forward future rebates to remove the months of pent-up demand which is causing big problems.