Installing Solar Panels In Melbourne Under Stage 4 Restrictions

Solar and Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne

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UPDATE OCTOBER 19 2020 – As of this morning, solar installations are able to go ahead in Melbourne – learn more.
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VICTORIAN COVID RESTRICTIONS

Although solar installations cannot go ahead in metropolitan Melbourne under stage 4 restrictions (except on new builds or uninhabited homes), solar installers are still quoting, designing and getting customers ready for installation. Onsite visits for the purpose of designing and quoting are not allowed, but many installers are happy to jump on a video call.

Installations can proceed in regional Victoria under certain conditions.

On Monday, the Victorian Government announced a range of measures relating to how work will be carried out in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. For solar installers and their customers, it’s been an anxious wait since then to find out whether solar panel installation is considered a permitted industry in Melbourne.

There’s finally been clarification via Solar Victoria and the news isn’t good for Melbourne.

Metropolitan Melbourne (Stage 4 Restrictions)

Solar Victoria advises solar panels cannot be installed on residential properties in metropolitan Melbourne under Stage 4 restrictions unless it is a residential renovation where the home is fully vacated or a construction site. In those two situations, specialist contractors must adhere to the worksite’s COVIDSafe Plan and are included in the daily workforce caps.

Quoting can continue of course, but obviously no home visits.

Critical repairs can be made to an existing system where required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

Regional Victoria (Stage 3 Restrictions)

Solar businesses in regional Victoria can continue to operate, but must follow the guidance for Stage 3 restrictions. My understanding is metropolitan installers won’t be able to travel to regional areas to perform installations.

COVID-Safe Solar Power Installations

For Victorians who can go solar during this time, back in April we outlined how to go about a COVID-safe solar power experience – from the research phase right through to handover. The good news is the whole process can be carried out with minimal in-person contact, and any in-person contact there may be can (and must) occur in a very safe way.

Bear in mind installers will be as keen as customers to keep any face-to-face contact to the absolute minimum and at the maximum distance possible as it’s in everyone’s interests to do so.

Even if Stage 4 restrictions prevent you from going solar in Melbourne right now or you’ve decided to put it off for a bit for whatever reason, you can start researching, reading installer reviews and getting quotes.

It’s a really good time to go solar in Victoria and will still be after Stage 4 restrictions are over. Victoria’s solar rebate and interest-free loans are and will continue to be available, along with the generous national subsidy. Installing a solar power system will also help support Victorian jobs at a time when they are particularly needed.

On a related note, Solar Victoria is providing assistance to potential applicants, existing customers and businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic – more information can be found here.  The agency notes the Solar Homes Program remains open and it is continuing to process rebates.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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