Round 2 Of Victoria’s Solar Rebate Kicks Off Today

Solar Victoria rebate/subsidy

Solar Victoria will be a hive of activity today as the second phase of the Solar Homes Package subsidy for PV systems begins.

The “rebate”1 offers up to $2,225 to assist with the purchase of solar power systems, or 50% of the system price (whichever is lowest). The incentive is available in addition to Australia’s “solar rebate”.

In a nutshell, eligible Victorians should be getting quotes, then applying for and awaiting an eligibility number. It’s important not to install a system before the eligibility number is received as installing before receipt of this number will mean the installation will not be eligible for subsidy. More on the Victorian solar rebate (subsidy) here.

This financial year, support for 40,000 rooftop solar systems on homes and community-owned housing will be available under the Solar Homes Package. This time around, there will be a quota each month –  so around 3300 subsidies available each month. It’s assumed that the quota for July will be reached very quickly given the pent-up demand and the addition of interest-free loans to the program.

UPDATE: 5PM – According to a counter on Solar Victoria’s site, 1,914 rebates are still available for this month – so more than 1,300 were snapped up in the first day.

New Approach “A Nightmare”

While the sudden end to Round 1 rebates caused major headaches for consumers and solar installers, in SolarQuotes’ vodcast last week Finn said he believes the way the second phase of the Victorian program is being rolled out this year will still be a dog’s breakfast.

“Very well intentioned, but just making it way too complicated,” stated Finn.

SQ’s Ronald’s opinion:

“If your goal is to get more solar installed, you don’t want to be stopping and starting,” said Ronald. “You should have just had a lower rebate or subsidy, and just let it go for everyone. Then it would be simple, have less compliance costs and everyone would be happy. But now it’s a headache, having less benefit than it would.”

Aside from the stop-start scenario, other concerns regarding the phase two rollout include the administrative and cash flow burden on installers, the cost of which is expected to be added onto the price of systems.

Battery Rebates – For Some

Rebates of up to $4,838 for solar battery systems also open today. However, only a thousand will be available each year and only in a couple of dozen postcodes at this point.

Full details of all that is on offer and how to apply are available on the Solar Victoria website, which has recently seen a bit of a facelift.

Footnotes

  1. It was previously a rebate, but is now a subsidy that comes off the up-front price of a solar power system. The term “rebate” is still being widely used, including by the Victorian Government
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.

Comments

  1. The biggest failing of the Solar Victoria Portal is the lack of information on how to use the portal.
    First of all I received my link to the portal from Solar Victoria and I was ready to go; I had scanned all the relevant documents and now I selected the email link……. On my Windows 10 Internet Explorer I was presented with a blank page from Solar Victoria. Repeated attempts drew the same response. I then swapped to Microsoft Edge and then I was able to access the portal; it informed me that the process will take 15 mins.
    On the first page I had to enter my email address and phone in the format shown. I could select the next page because it said my email address was invalid; I double checked everything and I had entered my mob number in the format specified. Guess What ! the format was wrong and when I entered numbers again it worked.
    One hour had elapsed and I now went to the next page to enter the details for my quote. I started to enter the suppliers name and thing happened; a little pencil just kept spinning and an error message said to contact the supplier. The supplier said all was good and that some of his customers had already completed their application. I then entered other suppliers names from the authorized list and the same thing happened.
    Two hours had now lapsed so I tried two other computers including Apple Safari and all applications stopped at the point; I could not enter the suppliers name.
    Its now three hours wasted and I ring the 1300 number and wait another hour for an operator who was fully conversant with the website; after many conversations with colleagues and supervisors the operator asked me if I was using Google Chrome because that was the only portal compatible browser; I did not have Google Chrome on my computers because of previous compatibility problems.
    By the time I had finished with the operator, and installed Google Chrome five hours had elapsed from when I first activated the link. Well now, I was on my way, I got passed the quote acceptance, uploaded some documents relating to property value, and personal income and got to the identity verification page. Without prior warning, this required interaction with my smart phone to upload identity documents. I selected the GetSMS button and received a link on me phone. I tried to activate the link and failed because I did not have wiFi on or Mobile Data on. I tried to activate the link again and got the response “Link timed out”. Back on the web page it noted the timeout error and presented the GetSMS button again which I selected.
    My phone received the text again and I duly tried to activate the link again and got the response “Link timed out”. Back on the web page it again noted the timeout error and only gave me the option to continue. There was no further opportunity to verify my identity and no more opportunities to “Save and Exit”. I then got to the end with my application submitted and I had to wait for the email. I then searched for ways to verify my identity online; I could not re-enter the application process.
    Meanwhile, I received two emails: one from the supplier to inform that they are going ahead and one from Solar Victoria to say that my application will now be reviewed and that I had to verify my identity online or manually.
    I tried for two more hours to verify my identity including another hour in an online chat session which came to an inconclusive end. During the afternoon the 1300 number was impossible to use with a recorded message say it could take any more calls.
    I sent an email to Solar Victoria and received an automated response that it will take five day to respond to my email.
    I spent 8 hours on a process that stated at the beginning that it would take 15 mins. I lot of time would not have been wasted if Solar Victoria had advised us what computer hardware and software to use with the portal.
    I tried many times to use Vicky – the online assistant, it failed to answer any query correctly despite more detailed questions.
    I am still in limbo to verify my identity; the only choice left is the manual verification that will take at least another day. Just Iucky that I could stay at home to do this and miss two days pay instead of going to work.
    It was obvious that the Solar Victoria Portal was not tested by professional testers, or an inexperienced user group who would have exposed the user interface problems.
    This appears to be another dud project from the Victorian Govt where they failed to get everything right.

  2. We had multiple issues with the online facial verification system. An absolute nightmare. Husband now has a big bushy beard – not present on his passport or drivers licence. We tried twice. So then we changed the purchasers name to my own (since I had to submit my Tax details anyway for household income to be calculated. My facial details verified fine, but then we get a response that since details don’t match we will be contacted to determine eligibility. Now we are away on holidays out of reception next week, so we tried to contact them to submit manual id verification paperwork (we have a nurse friend, so it’s ready to go). No go, automated response, they’ll reply in 5 days. So we are going to be struggling to get this off the ground since we won’t contactable then. Stupid system.

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