In this article we examine the Victorian Solar Rebate Scheme, how it works, eligibility, initial problems that plagued the scheme, and an update for June 2020.
A Brief Overview/History
On the 19th of August 2018, the Daniel Andrews Labor Government announced a new Solar Homes Program in which they promised Victorians up to a 50% rebate on newly installed solar systems. Although some circles saw this as just an election promise ploy, it was extremely exciting news for Victorians looking to invest in solar. Under the $1.24 billion program, Victorians are able to install a solar panel system for half price and pay the rest of the cost back over four years with an interest-free loan.
The scheme was also designed to create over 5,000 new jobs, help families dealing with the high cost of electricity and cut carbon emissions by almost four million tonnes – the same as taking one million of Victoria’s 4.6 million cars off the road – and generate 12.5 per cent of Victoria’s 40 per cent target for renewable energy by 2025.
Of course, it was also designed to have a little election dig at the Liberal Party while they were at it as explained by Minister for Energy – Lily D’Ambrosio.
“Ever since Jeff Kennett and the Liberals privatised our energy market, companies have been ripping off customers and getting away with it. Only Labor will give power back to Victorians with solar panels on 650,000 homes”
Who is Eligible?
According to the Solar Victoria Website, Victorian households are eligible to receive a rebate for installing a solar PV system if they meet the following criteria:
- they are the owner-occupier of the property
- the owners have a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per year (based on last year’s Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment)
- it is an existing property, valued at under $3 million
- they do not have an existing solar PV system installed after 2009
How it Works
The value of this Victorian rebate from January 2020 is ‘up to’ a value of $2,225 or 50% of the price; whichever is lowest.
This means the following:
- Purchase a solar system for $3,000, the maximum rebate will be $1,500
- Purchase a solar system for $4,450 the maximum rebate will be $2,225
- Purchase a solar system for $6,000 the maximum rebate will be $2,225– because it’s capped as this amount
The best news about this scheme is that the rebate is ON TOP of the federal scheme. This means that when you purchase a system for say $4,450 (4-5 kW of panels), you can then apply for the scheme to take another $2,225 off. Remember, that price of $4,450 already had the Federal Rebate applied, meaning a customer is essentially receiving a system worth $6,690 for $2,225. That is over 65% off!
However, the scheme is capped with a certain allotment of rebates allowed per month as below:
How to Apply
The rebate process has been updated by Solar Victoria to make it easier for potential customers.
Once and once you have researched and identified the authorized solar retailer you want to use – contact them to obtain a quote or let Solar Choice take care of this step for you and obtain up to 3 quotes from authorized retailers with our instant solar quote comparison.
The solar retailer will then upload the quote into the Solar Victoria Portal, triggering your application for eligibility. Once you have successfully completed this application via the portal you will be issued with an eligibility number. You must then provide this number to your installer as it will confirm that they can go ahead with your installation. Without this eligibility number, the installation cannot proceed.
The scheme was met very enthusiastically by Victorians interested in solar and led to an enormous increase in demand for solar systems in the state. Unfortunately, this demand was way too much for the scheme to handle with the allocations for each month selling out within minutes of being released on the first day of the month. For example, the August 2019 quota was filled – concert-ticket style – in just 90 minutes, effectively putting an artificial cap on the market.
This led to a real fight for these rebates and unfortunately, a lot of small businesses were lost due to the difficulty in making sales for the rest of the month after the rebate allocation was exhausted.
Solar Hot Water and Solar Batteries Rebate
Also included in the scheme were rebates for Solar Hot Water Systems and Solar Batteries. The Solar Water System rebate is up to $1,000 per system install. The battery rebate is up to a maximum of $4,174. However, it should be noted that these rebates are much more limited in numbers. The battery rebate currently has had its allocation exhausted until July 2020.
Update for July 2020
Solar Victoria introduced a Notice to Market process to advise the industry of upcoming changes to approved product lists and other requirements, so retailers and installers were aware in advance of planned changes that affect them and their customers.
The current Notice to Market, released April 2020, is effective as of 1 July 2020.
In the first six months of the 2020-21 financial year, there will be 33,500 rebates made available in total for owner-occupiers, community housing, and renters.
The availability of rebates will be communicated via the Solar Victoria website to ensure information transparency and confidence for Victorians.
The rebate has also slightly modified for the rest of 2020 as below:
- Householders who apply after the 1st of July 2020, will receive a rebate of up to $1,850. The no-interest loan will still be available and will match the rebate amount up to $1,850.
- Householders who commenced a solar PV application and secured a place before 30 June 2020 will receive a rebate up to $1,888.
- The rebate price for solar hot water is $1,000 in 2019-20 and will remain at this value from 1 July 2020.
Solar Victoria has also announced Covid-19 provisions to assist with those who have undertaken the finance plan option and been affected by the pandemic.
The Victorian Solar Rebate Scheme still offers an amazing opportunity for those looking to invest in solar and is well worth a look in. There are currently 3,846 out of 6,109 rebates for Solar Panel Systems still available so it appears the earlier issues have been ironed out. With many Victorians working from home a lot more and the zero-interest finance available, there has never been a better time to get on the solar train!