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Successful legal challenge: original follow up signatures for rebate applications can now be lodged by 17 July 2009

To all Solar Choice customers,

The Renewable Energy Branch of the Department of Environment today responded favourably to Solar Choice’s legal challenge to Minister Garrett’s office regarding the status of faxed/emailed $8k rebate applications sent on or prior to 9 June 09.

Solar Choice engaged lawyers Mallesons Stephen Jacques, who on 19 June 2009 faxed a letter to Minister Garrett, copied to Prime Minister Rudd, Climate Change Minister Wong and the Director of Solar Homes and Communities Plan, challenging two discreet decisions made by the Dept of Environment as follows:

1. The decision to not accept faxed or emailed applications for the $8k rebate sent on or before 9 June, unless original signatures were also sent on or before 10 June 2009.
2. The decision to not publicly announce the above.

Many hundreds of Solar Choice customers across Australia who made the effort on 9 June to fax or email application forms would suffer irreparable prejudice, and will be excluded from their rebate entitlement, if the above decisions were allowed to persist.

The above two decisions were particularly unreasonable given the SHCP’s prior established practice of accepting applications not bearing original signatures, subject to the customer/installer providing original signatures at a later date after being requested to do so in writing by the SHCP.

The response received today by our lawyers, Mallesons Stephen Jacques, states:

œWe have considered the issue you raise and completed applications, including all requisite signatures, which were completed and either faxed, emailed or sent via the post, freight or courier prior to midnight 9 June 2009 will be accepted for assessment. We ask that signed originals of either faxed or emailed applications are forwarded to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and the Arts “ attention Solar Homes and Communities Plan manager. All signed originals must be received by the Department by 17 July 2009.

Additionally, the Department will be updating its website asking that original applications are forwarded to the Solar Homes and Communities Plan manager. The Department will also be sending an email to the Clean Energy Council for dissemination through its accredited installer network.

There have been no rejection letters sent to installers for failure to supply the signed originals of completed applications that were either faxed or emailed to the Department.

I also spoke this morning with the SHCP’s Project Manager, Warren Hughes, who confirmed the following:

1. As stated above, rebate applications containing faxed/emailed signatures sent on or prior to 9 June 2009 can now be followed up with original signatures, delivered to the SHCP by 17 July 2009. In doing so, the applicant’s original signature can be sent separately (as can the installer’s original signature if not previously provided), and the SHCP will collate these two components and accept them for assessment as effectively the one document.

Completed page 2 of the application form, as well your original signature on page 6 of the application form, should be posted to:

Solar Homes and Communities Plan
GPO Box 787
Canberra, ACT, 2601

For good measure, please include a photocopy of your driver’s licence front and back, a copy of a recent rates notice and a short note stating that your faxed/emailed signature was sent to your installer on or prior to 9 June 09.

2. Similarly, the SHCP will collate applications where the original of the applicant’s signature and the original installer’s signature were sent separately on or prior to 9 June 2009, and accept them for assessment as if they were effectively the one application.

This is a very favourable outcome.

There is now 2.5 weeks of opportunity to ensure that customers who made the effort on 9 June 2009 to fax or email signatures to their selected installer, now post original signatures to the SHCP by 17 July 2009 (if they haven’t already done so) so that they may receive their $8k rebate entitlement.

Angus Gemmell
Solar Choice Pty Ltd

© 2009 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Comments

  1. Having given up on making the step towards solar energy this is a wonderful development – still a way to go but hope shineth!! Thank you for your efforts.

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