The Victorian Government has heard the voice of the state’s solar installation industry and committed to increase the number of rebates available under the Victorian Solar Homes program.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced the funding for the program would be increased by a further $53 million for the 2019-20 financial year, bringing the total rebates for the year from 40,000 to 63,000.
More than 9,000 rebates will be made available in September to help reduce pent-up demand in the system.
Allocations of solar rebates will be made on a fortnightly basis, instead of the current monthly timetable, which should help to alleviate spikes of demand for residential systems that has frustrated installers in Victoria this year.
About 6,500 rebates will be made available on September 2 and a further 3,250 on September 16.
Clean Energy Council CEO Kane Thornton said the industry was pleased Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Energy Minister D’Ambrosio had fixed the issues with the program ahead of the next allocation.
“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,” Thornton said.
“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.”
The announcement comes with increased safety, quality and fraud prevention measures attached.
The program will now support the establishment of a public register for solar retailers, with unsafe and unscrupulous installers removed from the program and named on the register.
Audit staff numbers will also be increased and more resources commited to mentoring small businesses and workforce training for installers.
The minister also announced that the Solar Victoria web portal will be streamlined and improved to make it simpler for households to apply for a rebate.
“We know that the last few months have been incredibly tough,” Thornton said on Wednesday in an announcement to the CEC’s accredited solar installer member base.
“We have been working extremely hard to get this change in place to ease the burden. Thank you to all of you who got involved in the campaign, we could not have done this without your support.”