small business Environment and Water | July 16, 2019

New Solar Homes program killing the solar industry

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy says the Andrews’ Labor Government is slowly killing the solar industry with badly thought out policies and processes. 

Ms Kealy has received calls from solar installation businesses regarding the new Solar Homes program and the process for solar panel rebate applications that came into effect on 1 July.

“I am deeply concerned Labor’s new Solar Homes program will not address the key issues that have plagued the solar panel rebate scheme and will only make the scheme even more difficult to access,” Ms Kealy said.

Solar Victoria are now only approving a maximum of 3,333 rebates a month and when applications opened on 1 July, all were gone in three days.

Applicants who didn’t get approved in July now have to wait until 1 August for applications to reopen again.

There are 211 approved solar retailers on the Solar Victoria website. With 3,333 rebates available each month for owner-occupied homes, this averages out at only 16 installations per retailer per month.

Ms Kealy has received information that there could be as many as 10,000 solar rebate quotes backed up in the system awaiting processing.

“Sales and installations decreased significantly for businesses between April and July as customers waited for rebate applications to open again and now the same thing is going to happen for the rest of July and probably each month after that,” Ms Kealy said.

“For installation businesses this means no sales, installations or income and eventually - no business.

“I am being contacted regularly by retailers expressing concern about the future of the industry, and by customers who are missing out on rebates because of the clumsy application process and red tape.

“I have been informed the new Solar Victoria portal for rebate applications is very difficult to navigate, particularly for clients who are not computer savvy. Retailers have to initially log the application, quote and client details.

“The client then has to confirm the application and provide birth certificates, rate notices and even passports in some instances. The system requires JPEG and not PDF files, with many clients unable to understand the difference.

“Daniel Andrews has a duty to all Victorians to admit that the rebate scheme was a rushed out election promise that now needs attention and re-work.

“It is time for Daniel Andrews to admit that he has got it wrong and make some drastic changes to a scheme that is affecting the livelihoods of Victorian businesses and frustrating applicants.” 

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