Has Daniel Andrews Killed The Residential Solar Industry In Victoria?

Victorian solar rebate botched

Many small and medium Victorian solar businesses are on their knees. The Victorian Government is killing them with its botched solar rebate.

This is serious. Really serious. Good businesses will go bust,  families will lose homes unless drastic action is taken. Now. Right now.

Ten and a half weeks ago, the Victorian Solar Rebate was paused. Victorian solar installers’ phones fell silent.

Last Monday (July 1st) after a very long ten weeks those phones finally started ringing again. The $2,225 Victorian Solar Rebate was once again open for applications.

No-one eligible for this rebate1 wanted to pay $2,225 extra for a solar power system. So almost every solar customer in Victoria was waiting for July 1 before buying a system.

Almost inevitably – on Monday July 1 Solar Victoria’s2 servers crashed as Victorians piled in to apply for the rebate. The server was rebooted, and by the end of Monday about 1,800 applications had been processed.

Time to add an important detail here: Solar Victoria are only approving a maximum of 3,333 rebates per month.

Can you see where this is going?

By Thursday morning, the 4th July, the rebate was fully subscribed. No more applications would be accepted.

Anyone who wants the rebate now has to wait until August the 1st. That’s 27 days away.

In fact it’s worse than that. I’ve been told that there are 10,000 quotes backed up in the system awaiting processing. If that’s true then anyone who wants to start the process now could be waiting over 3 months before they are even allowed to apply for the rebate. They are not allowed to buy a solar system before that rebate is approved.

So, all residential solar installers’ phones have gone quiet again. Sales have dried up. No sales, no income. Perhaps for 3 months. But payroll still has to be made. Some lucky installers may have 3 customers with approved rebates this month. Many have none.

How to kill an industry.

The Victorian government have designed a process where solar companies can only, effectively, sell residential solar power systems for 3 days per month. 10% of the time.

That’s a 90% reduction in residential solar sales.

That will kill almost any business.

And believe me, solar businesses are hurting.

Here at SolarQuotes we work closely with many great small and medium Victorian solar businesses and we have been hearing, first hand, tales of desperation, anguish and a sense of helplessness as they realise official policy is to continue this pattern of on/off solar rebate for the next 10 years! It is heartbreaking.

The madness has to stop. Now.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Daniel Andrews introduced this policy to help him win the election. So it was an election promise. A very badly thought out and rushed election promise.

Observing the rollout, it has been obvious that the deployment and details were being made up in real time as the implementation was rushed through.

I don’t believe for a second that Daniel Andrews or Solar Victoria ever wanted to kill the solar industry in the state. But that’s what they are doing. And it will be a quick death at this rate. The anti-solar energy crowd must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Daniel Andrews needs to take a big bite of humble pie and accept that this is a quickly unfolding disaster. Livelihoods are being ruined. Family businesses are staring down a financial apocalypse. I am not exaggerating.

Daniel Andrews needs to instruct Solar Victoria to change course immediately. Everyone makes mistakes. Premier Andrews needs to fix this one urgently.

The Solar Cutters speak

Last night I spoke with Victorian solar engineer and leader of the ‘Solar Cutters’ movement, Jack ‘Longy’ Long. The Solar Cutters advocate for a sustainable solar energy industry. I have immense respect for Longy’s opinion. He had this to say about the situation in Victoria and what needs to be done to fix it:

The current situation in VIC is grim for most installers. In saying that it seems to be smaller operators with a strong focus on quality feeling more of the brunt due to the rapid start/stop nature of the program causing severe issues with cash flow and consistency of work. As a whole, most installers I speak to are immensely disenchanted with the ambiguity sinking into the Victorian residential solar market at the moment, some even on the verge of leaving solar altogether.

 

We want a reduction in the eligibility of maximum household income from $180,000 per year to $90,000 per year. Prior to the Victorian Solar Homes rebate more than 40,000 Victorian households were installing solar per year with likely the majority of these installations for household incomes higher than $90,000 per year. We believe that the reduction in household income will mean that the households with an average income greater than $90,000 per year will continue to install solar power systems at the same rate as prior to the rebate being announced and we would therefore see greater stimulation to the Victorian solar market.

 

This reduction would create greater opportunity for low income households to install a solar power system and reduce the ongoing cost of electricity. The lower income houses would generally be purchasing cheaper systems using lower quality components and a lack of safety systems when installing. As Solar Victoria has a strong focus on quality and safety auditing we believe that this rebate will not only provide benefit to those that need it most but also target the sector of the solar industry that requires the most improvement in relation to sales tactics, safety and quality.

solar cutters logo

A plea to Daniel Andrews

Dear Daniel,

I know this is gonna hurt, I know your opponents will crucify you over any policy changes. But as a strong leader you have a duty to admit your mistakes and make difficult decisions.

Please, please, please, this weekend – make the call – either euthanise this scheme in its entirety or tighten the eligibility as described above. It will be too late for some businesses, but at least you can save what’s left.

Sincerely,

Finn

A plea to non-Victorian pollies

To the rest of the country’s pollies: please learn from this. The Federal ‘rebate‘ scheme has worked and it is gradually decreasing until solar power will be unsubsidised in 2030. Solar in Australia is the cheapest in the world. It does not need any more subsidy. Stop using solar power (or batteries) to win votes. If you want to help solar energy, sort the grid out, and start planning the firming generation that will replace the coal generation that is being forced out of the market by renewables. Thank you.

What can *you* do to help?

1) Call Daniel Andrews

The best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call Daniel Andrews’ office on (03) 9548 5644. Leave a message insisting they get back to you urgently. His staff need to arrive to work on Monday to a tsunami of messages.

Then leave a post and send him a DM on his Facebook page.

2) Call Michael O’Brien

Then call Michael O’Brien, the Opposition leader’s office (he’s Shadow Minister For Small Business too) on (03) 9576 1850.

Leave a message – insisting that they get back to you urgently. Explain that small and medium businesses are hitting the wall and it is all because of government intervention.

Then leave a post and send him a DM on his Facebook page.

Please do it this weekend, then do it again first thing Monday morning.

Because if nothing changes, the Victorian residential solar energy industry will soon be a wasteland of trashed hopes and dreams.

Footnotes

  1. less than $180k household income, house worth less than $3m, no pre-existing solar system
  2. Solar Victoria = the government body set up to administer the scheme
About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

Comments

  1. Joe Blake says

    Prior to the 2008 election in Western Australia, both sides were pushing the barrow of subsidising renewable energy. The Liberal party was promising that the Feed-in Tariff would be 60 cents per kWh GROSS! ie 60 cents paid for every kWh generated whether it was self-consumed at the premises or put back into the grid. The Coalition won that election, but it was a very short time before they realised what a great mistake there had been and the FiT was reduced to 40 cents NETT, ie 40 cents for each unit sent to the grid. The point is, Daniel Andrews, Colin Barnett and his government were big enough to realise they’d made an error and quickly backtracked. You should do the same, chop-chop.

  2. Hi Finn

    Im glad im not reliant on solar to pay its way and working for myself makes it easier but I would hate to have employees and have to look after them you would be on your knees. They should of taken the money and put it in the Federal scheme pot and if you house was in Victoria then your rebate was more once it ran out then it just wouldn’t be there.Employed more Solar inspectors with the CEC. This is why we don’t need state governments it’s all political made decisions not for end user the customer who should be looked after with their hard earned paying for it.

    Regards Andrew

  3. It wasn’t 6.5 weeks ago, it was April 12th. It reopened on July 1 for 3 days.

    That’s 10 weeks, Finn

    Now Solar Victoria is implanted between sales and installs. Only 12% of our sales have been auto approved and there is no timeline for the other 88%.

    On top of that the customer process is truly diabolical requiring a computer, document scanner, smart phone or tablet with a SIM card plus documents including tax return, rates notice, passport or birth certificate and drivers license. It also requires IT skills that 80% of end users don’t possess.

    If they are missing even one of the above, their application expires in 14 days meaning solar companies have to go through the entire rigmarole on the 1st of the next month.

  4. The Victoria scheme needs to be extended by 10,000 homes this calander year to take care of the 12 week backlog. This is only a $22.5mil budget redirect. Shorly Vic Gov can take from another program to extend this very popular program.

  5. Dean Lombard says

    I theorised myself that cutting the income threshold would avoid the ‘solar coaster’ effect and it’s interesting to see that maybe backed up by industry voices. A number of us have been advocating to the Vic Govt to reduce the threshold to around this amount, largely on equity issues: 90% of households earn less than $180k, and anyone on an average income and sufficient equity in the home (or access to other finance) can afford solar without any help at all. A threshold around the median household income would still be generous but be more likely to be helping people who actually needed a hand.
    I’m curious about your thought “Some lucky installers may have 3 customers”. How many solar installers in Victoria? 1,111? That’s three customers each, but more if there are fewer solar businesses. Would be interesting to divide 3,333 by the number of solar businesses and see what it averages out to.

  6. You are certainly not overstating the situation Finn. I complained to Solar Victoria at the Pakenham Forum and vehemently requested they make at least 10,000 subsidies available form 1 July to make up for the 3 month back log. They couldn’t have cared less. They rattled on about how they were maintaining transparency and some other nonsense and said my request would not even be considered. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny.

    The other critical problem is that Solar Victoria have prohibited customers signing any contracts or paying deposits prior to gaining eligibility. This may take months but we are expected to do extensive consultation, design, admin and follow up work etc without a cent of income or commitment. Since when was it a crime to have a contract signed and a payment of goodwill showing intent once a customer has agreed to use your services?

    Consider a new build where cabling needs to be rouged in during construction? The client will not yet have a rates notice and can’t apply for eligibility until they get one. Who does the cabling etc if no money is allowed to change hands? Many of us predicted all these issues would occur and advised Solar Victoria so. Did they listen to any of us? No. What a dreadful system.

    The crazy thing is this subsidy has already pushed solar pricing up significantly. Now if you add in the cost of waiting 3 or 4 or 6 months while you continue to pay your high electricity bills, then what is the point of the subsidy in the first place?

    In my opinion the state government may face a class action if they continue down this path. We will certainly be making those calls to the Premier etc as you suggested and I truly hope the other solar companies do likewise.

    ps two of the suburbs where the battery subsidy will be considered are Portsea and Sorrento. I thought they were only supposed to be in developing high growth areas? Things that make you go hmmm.

  7. Notmyrealname says

    Any industry built around subsidies is bound to fail. Time and time again these government Initiatives do this. Why don’t business owners seem to understand this.

  8. I will be interested to see if those above $90k annual income will still buy without incentive. I have met people who totally understood that solar made sense but earned over $180k. Their attitude was that it didn’t make financial sense (pathetic excuse) or it wasn’t worth it without the $2,250 incentive (woe is me). Will this attitude move to those over $90k annual income and reduce the sales in general? Perhaps what I experienced is isolated but I think the real answer here is kill this program completely and have it managed through a hardship program administered by solar VIC where home owners can go to them and apply for the incentive and then go shopping for solar through the listed retailers (Argh yes that list). This way you’re not going to have to sell on the “hope and pray” or “wing and a prayer” sales model.

    • Nope. Not even a little bit. I have friends who are both doctors, with a household income of over a mil. They’re not interested in solar, with or without the rebate, because it doesn’t make sense to make your house look “gross” when it only saves you “a tiny bit” each year. They’re not purposefully selfish, they just don’t have the justification that some people do of saving real actual dollars.
      Now, some of us bought panels before rebates were a thing, just because it was the right thing to do. Unfortunately that has nothing to do household income!
      So bring the rebate bar down, sure, it might make a difference. But I can guarantee anyone who is already above that bar, if they wanted solar, would already have it.

      • Wow. Panels don’t look “gross”, good god. We had to hold off for years owing to a rebuild/extension project which altered our roof significantly – that whole time I was feeling a tiny bit cringey over our lack of panels. It’s uncool.

        If my household income was over a mil pa then I’d probably lose no sleep over the annual savings I’m making now either (in the $2k zone). But it’s a meaningful saving for a lot of us, especially over time if you’re not planning any moves.

        I think I’d find it quite challenging to be friends with anyone with these attitudes, tbqh.

        • Oh, don’t worry too much. They’re lovely people who save countless lives every day, and throw thousands at effective charities like The Smith Family and the Salvos.
          And I think I’m slowly getting through to them about the importance of solar, so you never know!
          But I do feel that households with high disposable income would have already got panels with or without the rebate, so why bother having a household income restriction at all?
          It’s all a bit of a farce anyway, the solar industry was in much better shape BEFORE the rebate came along.

          • Fair enough! Keep up the good messaging haha. Carbon carbon carbon; they could be saving thousands MORE lives over time…

            Yeah, seems like a poorly thought-out scheme from top to bottom. :/

  9. The backtracking in the solar battery promised are I am sure having the same sort of effect on batteries. However the criteria have shifted to a small number of postcodes and a peculiar requirement not to overload the grid(!) solar Victirian gave no explanations and seem unable to explain if they are expecting to run virtual power centres or group off distributor trading micro grids. It would be nice if they had call centres with properly briefed staff.. so that too is building a significant problem for the industry

  10. Seems to be a bit of a thing with Labor leaders interfering in industries they know nothing about.

    Kevin Rudd completely buggered the home insulation industry to make himself look good, and distorted the retail industry with his $950 cheques.

    Bill Shorten want to completely bugger the car industry by mandating what cars could be sold.

    Seems to be a bit of a trend that it always involves try to win votes with greenies.

    • Joe Blake says

      “Seems to be a bit of a thing with Labor leaders interfering in industries they know nothing about.”

      Labor? As I said in my first post, in Western Australia it was the Liberals who were pushing the renewable energy barrow hard enough to get elected, although into a minority govt. They went into coalition with the National Party, not the Greens. From what I’ve seen over the past few years most Liberals would rather pull their own heads off than deal with “greenies”.

      But to be fair, the WA Labor were pushing renewable energy at the same time, just not as hard as the Liberals.

    • Just saying says

      This isn’t about Labor or Liberal. This is a great idea that needs tweaking to help make work better. It’s about time we all realised that we are on the precipice of global catastrophe. Political point scoring and failure to heed the science is how we got here. Snarking from the sidelines will not get us any closer to a resolution. Good quality input and reasoned thought might.

  11. A prime example of unintended consequences?

  12. Dave Horchak says

    His has to be the most Intelligent and polite thread I have ever read. Australia but have really nice peopl5. I have a question. In Thailand they rushed to quickly and their infrastructure is operating at 220% of safe capacity. If this program is ramped up can it handle the power? FYI I am no expert on this just an interested person on learning.

    • A different perspective might be that anything actually ‘OPERATING’ at 220% of ‘safe capacity’ clearly demonstrates that the ‘safe-capacity’ standards have been set far too low. Sack the geniuses who set the levels as a matter of principle.

  13. Its about time tax payers stopped subsidising anything to do with alternatives . other business don’t get taxpayer subsides why alternatives

    • Ronald Brakels says

      When you watch a Spider Man movie set in Europe and at the end of the credits where it says Australia was involved — that’s your tax money at work.

      • I’d say without subsidies there’d be no renewables industry and unfortunately no excellent Solar Quotes blog

    • Politicians do pretty well on taxpayers subsidies ~ particularly given the fact that politics is the only job in the world that requires no qualifications or provable skills. Even a dogcatcher needs certain qualifications; but of course they can’t depend upon simply being elected by ‘The Great Unwashed’. (That’s the same crowd who depend on promised subsidies and such.,

      Once again:- DIY stand-alone solar!… and don’t tell anyone, so they won’t realise they can bill you when they start taxing sunlight!

    • fair suck of the sauce bottle says

      and what about the diesel rebates? Is that not a big subsidy for miners and farmers?

  14. Lawrence Coomber says

    Good points Finn.

    There are a couple of other related points worth clarifying also, particularly for ordinary Australian end users (customers) interested in Solar PV & Battery Storage (On Grid; Off Grid; Dual systems including any combination of both On Grid and Off Grid) as well as other Renewable Energy Generation Solutions (for example: Pico Scale Compressed Air Storage Technology; Wind Generation, Micro Hydro Generation (several formats), Hybrid Power Source Integrated Solutions) and up to 100 KW of PV in size.

    Any person in any State of Australia (including VIC of course) interested in any of the above technology solutions as they may apply to their home; farm; business; property; landholding, premises, commercial property, industrial or commercial specific project; is eligible to apply for an Australian Government Cash Subsidy under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, after completion of an eligible RE generation system being installed at their premises, by a suitably licenced and RE endorsed Australian ELECTRICIAN.

    Without exception.

    The Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 is a mature Australian Government initiative and is well known to most citizens in our country since about 2010 as it applies to small scale STC based subsidies.

    It is also well known by those Licenced Qualified Practitioners within the Australian Electrical Industry in all States, as these Licencees are the ONLY entities entitled by Federal and State based laws to Install Renewable Energy Technology as described above for Australian end users (customers).

    It is important to understand exactly who these Licenced Electrical Practitioners across Australia are, because by Australian and State based laws, they are the ONLY people permitted by law and LICENCED to install any Federal Government Subsidised Renewable Energy System in the country, and there are NO – NONE – ZILCH exceptions to this national law.

    Every one of these eligible ELECTRICIANS & INSTALLERS will (as they must by law) be:-

    1/ A LICENCED ELECTRICIAN (Unrestricted Class Licence of any State – as Australian States have reciprocal across borders agreements for Unrestricted Class Electricians in force);
    2/ A CEC (Clean Energy Council) RENEWABLE ENERGY INSTALLER (Endorsed RE Technologies Licence). The full scope of RE Technology Endorsements, approved by the Australian Clean Energy Regulator are:-

    A/ ON GRID Technology;
    B/ STAND-ALONE (Off Grid) Technology;
    C/ WIND Generation;
    D/ HYDRO Generation;
    E/ HYBRID Power Systems Generation;
    F/ STORAGE Power Systems.

    To summarise, there is only one requirement that must be satisfied by Australian end user (customers) firstly if they want to apply for a Renewable Energy National Government Subsidy:-

    1/ Engage an appropriately licenced Australian Electrician (any State is acceptable) who also holds a CEC Installer Licence with the appropriate Technology Endorsements for the generation technologies being installed.

    And the key entry point for potential end user (customers) has been made very easy by the CEC to search for and find those LICENCED ELECTRICIANS & INSTALLERS (suitably endorsed to discuss your specific technology requirements) and provide comprehensive technical advice about renewable energy solutions options suitable for potential customers particular circumstances:-

    https://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers/find-an-installer.html

    Lawrence Coomber

    • Lawrence, Victorian customers can get both the STCs and the state government rebate. This is the issue, no one wants to buy a system without the state government rebate. I can understand where people are coming from, I wouldn’t want to pay $2000 more if I could wait for the rebate. The major problem is that the quantity of rebates on offer doesn’t even meet the demand that was there before the rebate and the government likes to push this program as creating jobs and talks about training opportunities.

      • Lawrence Coomber says

        Yes precisely Scott.

        And the mounting negatives around the Vic Government scheme are reasons why the positive attributes of the National Subsidy scheme might become attractive again for Victorian customers.

        “A bird in the hand verses two in the bush”

        Lawrence Coomber

    • The fucking POLICE STATE has descended!!
      Anyone who acccepts this crap should practice dropping their pants and bending over. (Teeth-gritting may or may not be permissible: or a fee may be applied depending upon the number of teeth you have!)

  15. Frank Forster says

    A sliding scale over the ten year program with a higher number of rebates at the front end to deal with the pent up demand would have been much more sensible and we suggested this to Solar Victoria representatives at their Geelong briefing session.
    Budget allocation cannot be the real problem as the battery rebate and hot water schemes are nowhere near their expected level of uptake.
    Will also be interesting to see how the battery rebate is adapted to deal with electric vehicles during the ten year program.

  16. I’m an owner of a small solar retailer business in Vic and have experienced this new process 1st hand.

    My view on fixing this in a hurry is to reduce the rebate by 50% to help offset the STC annual reduction, this would double the number of rebates to 6666.

    This would reduce the incentive by just enough without it being a mindless consumer money grab while obviously doubling possible jobs for installers.

    If that is still creating too much interest divide by 2 until the sweet spot is found.

  17. Brian Malley says

    I also emailed both the Environment Minister and Shadow Environment Minister last Thursday as I am planning to buy solar not from an economic standpoint (our electricity account is typically circa $220 per quarter) but primarily from an environmental standpoint.

    Perhaps thats another strong argument to push.

    Brian M
    Ormond Melbourne

  18. Lawrence Coomber says

    Brian if you dont get the response you would like from the minister, I recommend you tap into the National Government STC cash subsidy scheme instead. There are no time delays and you can install your preferred system immediately.

    Search the CEC site for a licenced installer electrician/contractor and get connected.

    https://www.solaraccreditation.com.au/consumers/find-an-installer.html

    All the best with you new Solar system Brian.

    Lawrence Coomber

  19. This whole structure of daft levels of subsidies is creating more problems for everyone, yet no more systems are being installed than would otherwise have been installed as the offer is restricted.

    Rather increase the FIT closer to wholesale cost, thus creating a ROI for consumers that is a no-brainer. And then offer low income low cost finance, repayments made from FIT.

    David L
    Sunbury

  20. Matches Malone says

    So according to the Solar Victoria website there are 185 authorised retailers. With 3333 rebates a month, that’s an average of 18 each.

    That doesn’t seem sustainable for many, if any, of these companies.

  21. BRILLIANT BLOG FIN.
    I love it when you cut straight to the chase,
    With an average of only 18 installs per installer in Victoria per month is ridiculous.
    Businesses will go broke,
    Any 12 year old could have done the maths to see this, so who is in charge of all this mess, Clearly they have no grasp of basic maths. How the hell did they ever get the job?? (I didn’t vote for you “says in his best Monty Python voice”)

  22. Cut it to 90,000 household income and we simply won’t buy. Why should a mere $50 a week extra wage over that make us ineligible?

    So solar installers… Want some money or none at all?

    • Dora Dodds says

      While I agree that a sudden cut off in eligibility is not the way to proceed and that it should be a rebate amount calculated on a sliding scale of income, your comment indicates to me that you are not understanding the problem this scheme has created for the industry. In fact, your comment actually proves what the problem is.

      The number of Victorian residential solar system installations in the previous years was 46,650 per year. (source: Clean Energy Regulator). That is 3,888 installations per month. This rebate incentive scheme was supposed to be designed to encourage more people install solar. However, it is only delivering the rebate to 3,333 households per month – 555 less per month than would have ordinarily have had solar installed anyway without the scheme. (that’s 6,654 less installations per year). But of course, because the scheme now exists, household are eager to take advantage of it – and who wouldn’t want to pay over $2.225K less for there system if they could. So instead of increasing the number of people getting solar installed this scheme has effectively reduced it.

      But that is not the worst of it. What it has done has made installers redundant for a large proportion of the month. Imagine a family based solar installer business with seven employees. Their requests for quotes dried suddenly up on April 12 when the previous scheme ended abruptly because its quota was reached earlier than expected. Things might have been OK and business may have continued as usual (well after an expected pause as consumers came to terms with missing out on that rebate scheme), if not for the pending new scheme. Of course consumers were going to wait the ten weeks for the new scheme. This business was in the fortunate position of having enough work in their system to carry them through a good deal of those weeks without having to lay their employees off. They did experience some cash flow problems that necessitated going into debt to pay wages in the final weeks to July 1 – the date when they expected a return to not only normal business but increased business activity.

      To date they have five approvals for installation – that’s the total of their work for the next four weeks or more. On July 4 they were prevented from uploading any more quotes into the system portal until August 1. The quotes need to be loaded into the system portal by the installers before the consumer can then apply for the rebate. So no more jobs will be available for them until at least the second or third week of August.

      They are already in debt, having carried their employees for the last four weeks. Moving forward, they will have no choice but to lay off their employees unless something is done immediately to address this disastrous and ill-thought out scheme.

      I wonder how much money you imagine installers make from an installation and how long they have to wait to receive their payments anyway. Imagine the case of another installer who has completed his first installation under this new scheme and attempted to put in his claim to Solar Victoria for payment, only to be told there is a problem with the portal and they are attempting to find a solution to fix it and without even an apology, was told he’d just have to wait until it was all up and running properly before he could be paid.

  23. Dare one point out that anyone who expects good-faith deals from politicians and/or other self-interested spruikers (like gee-whizz ‘power-walls’ and other ensnaring ‘hi-tech’ doodahs, etc.) deserves everything they get.
    And that’s particularly so when one agrees that the other parties to an (ha-ha-yoiks!) agreement can change the rules as and when they want. Nobody with half a brain would buy a doorstop on that basis!

    The ‘industry about to lose business’ has only itself to blame. People who buildi/invest in sandcastles at the low-tide waterline have no right to complain when the tide, inevitably, comes in. Anyone THAT bright shouldn’t be allowed out of the closet unsupervised.

    Moreover, even WITH the polly-waffling rebates/promises/etc. the price, in terms of both cash and junkie-like dependence, of a useful solar system is STILL much higher than a stand-alone DIY system.
    ALL the figures are available.

  24. How about the Catch 22 of building a new house that requires solar panels to reach minimum 6 star energy rating? Cannot get certificate of occupancy until panels are installed, cannot be owner/occupier until you have certificate of occupancy, cannot get rebate unless owner/occupier, cannot claim rebate retrospectively.
    Solar Victoria were totally NOT interested. “In that case, you are not elegible” was the advice that I was given.

  25. When your business only exists through taxpayer fund theft what do you expect?

    I will be glad to see the solar industry die like it should.

    When you can sustain yourselves without taxpayer funding come back.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      You did notice Finn saying the industry would be better off without this badly designed subsidy, right?

    • Ahem: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-11/coal-oil-and-gas-companies-receive-4-billion-dollar-in-subsidie/5881814
      I wish the solar industry got those kind of subsidies. Before you start calling solar “taxpayer fund theft”, I suggest you look at what the current industry gets out of your pockets. They even get a rather generous $0.40 subsidy per litre of fuel (petrol, deisel or gas) that they use. Lucky them, better than $0.04 that Safeway gives me.

    • Joe Blake says

      “When you can sustain yourselves without taxpayer funding come back.”

      In Western Australia, NON-renewable energy was being subsidised by the taxpayers at least back in late 1980s. That shows up in the power bills where cost of electricity in Sep ’87 was about 10.4 cents per unit and stayed at that level till Jun ’97, when it went up to 12.7cents per unit and stayed there until after the Barnett Govt was elected in 2008. Whilst BOTH sides of politics played the “subsidise power to buy votes” game previously, it’s now the McGowan Labor government’s time to try the impossible trick of reducing subsidies for non-renewable energy without raising the price of power. (Whilst it’s difficult to compare prices in the 1980s with today’s prices, due to the vast number of different “schemes” for customers, peak-power currently is 57 cents per unit cf 10.4 cents in 1987. If you wish to see subsidies removed from solar power, it should also be removed from fossil fuel. I think that would generate a rush to renewable energy.)

  26. I’ve emailed our beloved benevolent leader. You can too, find his email address on his website. Explained that something that may help people who are hurting financially, help the environment, and win some votes might be a Very Good Thing. I suggested the restrictive number of rebates should be removed entirely.
    I also mentioned that I was not eligible for the rebate, that I’m voicing my concern for my fellow Victorians.
    You too, having read this far down the comments, might feel compelled to do them same.

  27. What makes me laugh is that you people didn’t see this coming with a Labor policy.
    Did you really think that Andrews would get this right?
    Did you really think that Andrews will care?
    This is another Rudd pink batts, the only difference is that no one has been killed (yet)!

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If you want to have a bit of a whinge I’m not too worried, but the comments section is not for posting bullshit. The home insulation scheme was more or less competently designed and did what it was supposed to do. It was not at all like the Victoria Home Solar scheme which is having the opposite effect of its intent. If you want to convince me the two schemes are similar you are going to have to present a reasoned argument with evidence.

  28. Jim Gleeson says

    Finn, given a fair chunk of the above comments – you’re sure it’s worthwhile having a comments section? Or maybe just stay with bland non-opinions … which you’re not likely to do! So, no comments …

  29. Elias Ellis says

    I have a small installation business in Melbourne consisting of about 6 laborers, 3 electricians a foreman and 2 people doing admin. The way that the Andrew’s government has decided to roll out the solar rebate is destroying my business. After the rebate was cancelled we have desperately hung on thinking things would improve in July. What a joke, I still don’t have any jobs and I can’t see when that will change. I am not sure that the implementation of the rebate could have been designed any worse, it seems that if you sat down with the express goal of destroying businesses and the solar industry in Victoria then you might just come up with this model. Putting a cap on the number of jobs that can be done per month is some kind of Soviet era BS. The red tape around eligibility applications is not even Soviet it is a step above what even they could have come up with.

    • Those arguments apply to just about evything in life these days. eg. If today’s building rules/regulation/etc etc. had been in play the 4 million post-war migrants would still be living in Nissan huts out in the boondocks.
      Instead most of them managed to build their homes as best they could when they could and raised their families in them.
      The ONLY rule was that if your roof fell in it was YOUR problem.
      It’s the way nature intended things should be, and the ONLY reason the mountains of bullshit have sludged their way into people’s lives os because the ‘average’ (good word here) dill-in-the-street did nothing about it.
      The Eureka Stockade failed, but the men who fought it had more right to self-respect than the complaisant automatons who persist in voting and paying taxes…. and bitching about the consequences.

  30. Elias Ellis says

    We are all speaking our mind because our livelihoods and our businesses are being destroyed. We need to not only talk we need to take action. Surely there are enough of us to hold a demonstration in front of the Victorian parliament. Attract some media attention and show this government that what is happening to us is serious and needs to be addressed.

    • Careful with such terrorist talk, Chum. The Nanny-state might spaank you.
      ……For your own good, of course.

  31. Gideon Taljaard says

    As a new home owner I can concur with many others here. I thought I was going to be able to apply for the rebate. First major hurdle I don’t have a rates notice. If you don’t have one, you cannot proceed. Phoned the Greater City of Geelong Council. They only issue the rates notice once a year. WTF #1! Therefore new home owners cannot apply. Victoria has the fastest growing suburbs, but they cannot have solar.

    Second major issue I experienced was the certificate from my power distributor. I was given calculations with payback period by solar company showing the savings from going to solar, including feedback tariff. But my certificate states “battery can be installed with Zero export limitations”?

    I could not believe it when I saw that. That means Zero feedback tariff. WTF #2!
    —————————————————————————
    Dear Applicant,

    Further to application **-******* submitted **/05/2019, I can confirm that the Redback 4.8kWh battery can be installed with Zero export limitations.

    NMI: ************************

    If you have any further questions, you can contact us via the “Ask an Expert” button at https://customer.portal.powercor.com.au/mysupply or call our Customer Requests team during business hours on 1800 771 434.

    Regards,

    Customer Requests
    CitiPower and Powercor Australia
    http://www.powercor.com.au
    ——————————————————————————–

    • Dean Lombard says

      Are you sure that doesn’t mean no export limit?

      • Hi Dean,

        I asked the solar company to clarify “zero export limitations”. The reply they received was. If a battery is installed then there is to be no feed in back to grid. If I remove the battery from the system they will remove the zero export limitation.
        Currently Energy Australia is busy dealing with Powercor on behalf of my solar company regarding this.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      That might mean the battery isn’t permitted to export to the grid.

  32. Lawrence Coomber says

    Finn:

    You have highlighted some very sobering stories happening in Victoria, and no one wants to hear of disruption to quality practitioners in any industry group.

    What is not clear though is what industry precisely are you referring to that is suffering in Victoria?

    Are you referring to the Australian Electrical Contractors Industry businesses; or Australian Retail Industry businesses?

    The Australian Electrical Contacting Industry is an acknowledged global leader of its type, comprising businesses formed from very solid commercial foundations, and made up of licenced and qualified electrical entities and professionals who are by virtue of their qualifications and licencing thru State and National Governments legislation, entitled to and capable of undertaking any electrical work (including solar installations of course) throughout Australia.

    They are of course also the sole Australian industry licenced and regulated by State and Federal laws entitled to install solar systems and have as a consequence been responsible for (directly or under their auspices) every solar installation in Australia to date (including those subject to a Clean Energy Regulator STC’s or LGC’s rebate application) and importantly there are no exceptions in law permitted to these national laws.

    Are these professional Australian Electrical Contractors the businesses you are referring to Finn, under a broader and uninterpretable term in your blog as: “Solar Businesses”?

    I don’t believe they are; because from all available evidence from recognised electrical industry groups nationwide, Electrical Contractors are going gangbusters and there is notably a recognised shortage of Electrical Contractors everywhere rather than industry surplus.

    The Australian Retail Sales Industry however (in all of its sub-groups) on the other hand are subject to different market forces to the professional skills services of which Australian Electrical Contractors / Engineers / Electricians (i.e. including Solar Installers) belong.

    It is worth emphasising the important distinction between Australian Licenced Electrical Contractors and Electricians and Australian Retail Sales businesses in all of their sub forms Finn including “Solar Businesses”; they are by definition entirely different business structures and entities and although they may interact with each other from time to time on a normal sub-contract basis, they are different industries.

    An Electrical Contractor may undertake “Solar Installations” within their broader scope of expertise, but a “Solar Business” by definition is not an Electrical Contractor (and Electrical Contractors rarely go out of business through liquidity or business stagnation issues like those you have reported on in Victoria).

    We should also be mindful that the public records inform us that over the last four years over 600 Australian “Solar Businesses” have gone out of business due to liquidity issues; this contrasts with a miniscule number of less than 8 Australian Electrical Contractors who have left their industry through similar issues. Any business that exits an industry through liquidity issues invariably leaves behind a lot of mess for others to unwind.

    The Australian Electrical Contractor Industry is the industry responsible for all electrical works in Australia (including all Solar work) and operates within a very strict and highly regulated national and states-based framework underpinned by world class professional technical qualifications and strict corporate governance regulations. Importantly this structure has served Australian customers well for over 80 years.

    It is absolutely essential for the Australian public to have high confidence in their Electrical Contracting Industry, the equal of our other professional services industries such as the medical and educations industries, and we in the industry should do our best to represent it to our best ability.

    The Retail Sales Industry (in all of its forms) is a very important industry also, but it is underpinned by different motivations, imperatives and visions to the mainly long-term career minded professionals who make up the Australian Electrical Contractors Industry.

    These are important points and certainly worth thinking about.

    Lawrence Coomber

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