House­hold so­lar re­bates in­crease

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The State Gov­ern­ment has re­sponded to de­mand in its So­lar Homes pro­gram, bring­ing for­ward an ex­tra 23,000 house­hold re­bates into 2019-20 fi­nan­cial year.

While the num­ber of re­bate al­lo­ca­tions re­main un­changed in the over­all 10-year pro­gram, more al­lo­ca­tions have be­come avail­able sooner rather than later.

The move means 65,000 re­bates will be avail­able un­der the scheme this fi­nan­cial year in­stead of 42,000.

The gov­ern­ment, in an­nounc­ing the move, mod­i­fied its re­bate-re­lease sched­ule, re­leas­ing re­bates fort­nightly in­stead of monthly in an ef­fort to en­sure a more con­sis­tent sup­ply of work for so­lar-sys­tem in­stall­ers.

So­lar Homes Min­is­ter Lily D’am­bro­sio said on top of bring­ing the re­bates for­ward, the in­dus­try had agreed to a pack­age of re­forms that would boost safety and qual­ity, with more au­dit staff, stronger fraud pre­ven­tion and bet­ter in­for­ma­tion-shar­ing in­volved in the process.

She said Vic­to­ri­ans could be sure their cho­sen re­tailer was safe and re­li­able, with the La­bor gov­ern­ment also es­tab­lish­ing a pub­lic regis­ter of so­lar in­stall­ers, with un­safe and un­scrupu­lous in­stall­ers re­moved from the pro­gram and named on the regis­ter.

This would be sup­ported by small-busi­ness men­tor­ing and work­force train­ing for in­stall­ers.

Ms D’am­bro­sio said a So­lar Vic­to­ria web por­tal would also be stream­lined and im­proved to make it sim­pler for house­holds to ap­ply for a re­bate.

In other re­forms, a new In­dus­try and Con­sumer Ref­er­ence Group would bring to­gether

in­dus­try groups, con­sumers, So­lar Vic­to­ria and gov­ern­ment to pro­vide ad­vice and in­form the decade-long roll-out.

The $1.3-bil­lion So­lar Homes pro­gram in­volves the in­stal­la­tion of so­lar pan­els, hot wa­ter or bat­ter­ies in 770,000 homes dur­ing the next 10 years.

The scheme is de­signed to save Vic­to­rian house­holds more than $890 a year on en­ergy bills, cre­ate more than 5500 jobs, boost en­ergy sup­ply and re­duce car­bon emis­sions.

“We’re strength­en­ing this land­mark pro­gram, which has al­ready helped 35,000 house­holds put a power sta­tion on their roof, sav­ing them hun­dreds of dol­lars a year on their en­ergy bills,” Ms D’am­bro­sio said.

“We’ve lis­tened to Vic­to­ri­ans and to the so­lar in­dus­try about how we can make So­lar Homes bet­ter. These mea­sures will mean cheaper bills for more Vic­to­ri­ans this year and pro­vide a shot in the arm for the in­dus­try.”

Adrian Wade from Wim­mera so­lar re­tailer Wades wel­comed the changes.

“It’s fan­tas­tic news. Many of our cus­tomers have been stressed and wor­ried they haven’t been able to ac­cess these re­bates. The in­crease in num­bers should help clear the back­log and help get sys­tems in­stalled,” he said.

“Over­all this is a good scheme – but peo­ple have strug­gled with it. Many of our older res­i­dents for ex­am­ple haven’t been able to nav­i­gate through the process and this should make it a lot eas­ier.

“One change that peo­ple with­out ac­cess to a com­puter should be aware of is that the gov­ern­ment will re­serve some re­bates each month for man­ual ap­pli­ca­tions.”

The Clean En­ergy Coun­cil and Smart En­ergy Coun­cil have wel­comed the change.

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