$545 million For Solar Homes Package In Victorian Budget 2019/20

Victorian Budget 2019/20 - Solar Energy

Image: Bru-nO

The Victorian Budget 2019/20 sees $545 million allocated towards rolling out the next phase of the state’s $1.3 billion Solar Homes Package, which for solar power system subsidies restarts in July.

“We promised to put power back in the hands of Victorians. And by rolling out solar panels, solar hot water systems or battery storage for 770,000 homes and transforming our energy sector, that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.

The entire Solar Homes Package program runs over ten years – it’s still not clear what the PV subsidy level will be going forward, but a budget-related press release states “Victorian households can install half price solar”. This is similar wording to what was used for the first phase of the program, which offered rebates of up to 50% or $2,225 on a solar power system – whichever was lowest. The upper $ level could perhaps be reduced when the next phase kicks off.

In addition to subsidies for solar batteries (details also still unclear) also being available from July 1, the Solar Homes Package will offer zero-interest loans and include renters.

“As promised at the election, the scheme will be expanded to include renters – ensuring Victorians have access to cheaper, more reliable power whether they own or rent their home.”

The Victorian Government says funding will be provided for training, safety and quality audits to ensure the safety and sustainability of the continuing Solar Homes Package rollout.

Getting Ready For Solar Homes Rebooted

With the restart date less than 5 weeks away, it’s a good time for solar buyers to be researching potential installers and getting quotes now – as no doubt there will be a rush once the program reopens due to pent-up demand. The next phase won’t be a free-for-all as Solar Victoria will be releasing funding in stages, but trying to avoid a similar situation that occurred with the first phase when there was little warning before the program was paused on April 12.

If you’re going to put down a deposit on a solar power system now, Solar Victoria advises contract wording should be very clear on the issue of refunds/release should it turn out you are ineligible for the restarted program for whatever reason. Also bear in mind the level of subsidy going forward isn’t clear at this point.

Do not install a solar power system now if you want the subsidy – there will be no retrospective rebates 1 and from July 1 won’t be rebate-based, but be changed to a point-of-sale discount on a system.

Budget Cash For Dealing With Dodgy Energy Companies

Also included in Budget 2019/20 was $27.27 million to support the government’s aim of Victorians getting a fairer deal on energy, which includes stronger consumer protections and tougher penalties for electricity retailers behaving badly. As part of this, a fourth Essential Services Commissioner will be appointed, whose task will be to prosecute misbehaving energy retailers.

Energy retailers who mislead or deceive customers, or systematically and wrongfully disconnect households will face increased criminal penalties of up to $1 million.

“We promised to put power back in the hands of Victorians and get them a fairer deal on power prices – that’s what we are doing,” said Minister for Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio.

Footnotes

  1. aside from in this situation for some who didn’t follow the Solar Homes process correctly during the first phase.
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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