Victoria Solar Rebate Update — Get Your Fresh Details Here!

Victoria Solar Homes rebate update

Victoria’s Solar Rebate Update — Get Your Fresh Details Here While They’re Hot!

Victoria’s Solar Homes rebate program was announced on Sunday and this article I wrote on it was published yesterday.  Since then fresh information has come to light on the State Government’s Solar Victoria site.  This article covers what’s new including details on a $1,000 solar hot water rebate.

For those who didn’t read yesterday’s brilliant article — and have no real desire to — I’ll restate the basics:

  • Victorians now get a rebate on a solar power system equal to 50% of the cost or $2,225.  Whichever comes first.
  • Every eligible solar power system installed on or after the 19th of this month can receive it.
  • To be eligible you must live in a home you own that is worth $3 million or less and your household’s income must be $180,000 or under.
  • Zero interest solar loans will be available on the 1st of July 2019 — if Victoria Labor is re-elected to government in November.

I’ve put the new information below and after that added a few thoughts of my own.  I have tried ringing Solar Victoria in order to wring more information out of them, but so far I have been unable to get through.  I’m guessing they are bloody busy at the moment.

The Victorian Solar Rebate Is For A Maximum Of $2,225

It is now clear the maximum amount of rebate you can receive for a system from the state government is $2,225.  But for some reason the Victoria Solar site only says this in a round about way without simply coming out and saying it.  The government should make it clear because the way it’s currently presented some people will assume it covers a full 50% of a system’s price without a limit.  It’s a bad move from a public relations point of view because some people become crazy upset if they receive less free money than they were expecting.

The Rebate Is Funded Until June 30th 2019 — So They Say

Yesterday I didn’t know how long the Victoria solar rebate was funded for and so I suggested people get systems installed before the November state election.  But the Solar Victoria site says it is funded until June the 30th 2019 with enough dosh to cover the rebate for around 24,000 homes.  It’s good funding has been allocated for beyond the election and up to the end of the financial year, but I don’t see how it’s going to be enough.

Last year almost 170,000 home solar systems were installed in Australia, and over 20% of them in Victoria.  Very roughly, around 35,000 systems were installed there.  We can be confident everyone who can get the rebate will take it on account of how Victorians don’t have porridge for brains1.  The Victorian Government says nearly 9 in 10 households are eligible, so I’ll assume the figure is 85%.  If Victorians install solar panels at the same rate as last year, then in the over 10 months remaining till the end of the financial year about 26,000 people will want the rebate.  This is around 2,000 more than has been budgeted for.

But demand isn’t going to remain the same as last year.  The installation rate is already higher than a year ago and with the Victorian solar rebate now available it will soar.  I don’t know how many installations Victoria’s solar industry can manage over the next several months, but if there is a 50% increase in system installations then I expect the rebate money will run out some time in February.

So you won’t have to get your solar power system installed before the November election, but it’s probably still a good idea to nail down an installation date as soon as possible.

Percentage of Australian homes with solar panels

Victoria’s rooftop solar penetration rate is currently half that of sunny Queensland and South Australia.  (Image: Australian PV Institute)

You Can’t Already Have Solar Panels On Your Roof

You won’t be eligible for the Victorian solar rebate if you already have solar panels on your roof.  So if you have a puny 1.5 kilowatt solar system and were hoping to upgrade with the help of the rebate, that won’t be possible.  If you remove the system and then had a new system installed it’s possible you would then qualify for the rebate.  Clearly I’ll have to ask Solar Victoria about this once they have time to answer their phone.

You Will Need A Council Rates Notice

To get the Victorian solar rebate you will need a recent council rates notice for your home.  This obviously is a problem for people who have recently moved or built a new home and don’t have one yet.  It’s also a problem if you own a home  but don’t pay rates.  For example, if your home is part of a retirement village.  In this case all I can recommend at the moment is try to contact Solar Victoria and find out what you can do to get around this problem.  But as soon as they call me back, as they’ll hopefully do, I’ll ask and tell you what they say.  If there is no way around this problem that would be really dumb.

No Installer WorkSafe Infringement Notices For 3 Years

To get the rebate your installer cannot have received a WorkSafe infringement notice within the last 3 years.  These are received for doing things like not using safety equipment where it is required or using a solar panel as a shield and whacking people with a roofing rail.  Victoria Solar says the installer must be able to provide a statement attesting to being infringement-free for three years.

This doesn’t mean an installer who has been in business for less than three years can’t install rebate worthy systems.  It just means they can’t have received a WorkSafe infringement in the time they’ve been operating.  As my boss, Finn, has pointed out, if newly trained installers were ruled out it wouldn’t make sense for the Victorian Government to contribute to training more to help meet the increased demand.

The no infringement requirement obviously is the Victorian Government attempting to protect themselves from being blamed if someone installing solar panels falls off a roof and lands on their head or on someone else’s head.  They don’t want the opposition to say they were reckless for promoting solar power instead of doing something safe like tearing coal out of the ground and burning it in a 40 year old contraption full of high pressure steam.

There Is A $1,000 Solar Hot Water Rebate

The Victorian government will give a $1,000 rebate to 6,000 homes that install solar hot water systems before June 30th.  Households will only be able to get one solar rebate so this won’t be available to those who get the up to $2,225 rebate for a solar PV system.

The eligibility criteria are similar to the solar PV rebate, but it doesn’t specifically say you can’t already have a solar hot water system.  Also, the household is required to replace an existing hot water system.  I hope they are flexible on this because it is possible for an existing system to become part of a solar hot water system.  It’s also a really stupid requirement for a new home.

In Victoria a solar hot water system will normally cost at least $4,000 before the rebate and you can easily pay twice that for a large high quality system.  A reason why they are not cheap is Victorian winters are cold so you will generally want a system that performs better in cold weather but is more expensive.

STCs — Part Of The National “Solar Rebate” — May Fall In Price

Australia’s Small-scale Renewable Scheme, or SRES, reduces the cost of rooftop solar for all Australians.  But the huge increase in demand for solar power now occurring in Victoria may affect the price of STCs, or Small-scale Technology Certificates, that lower the cost of solar energy for everyone in the country.  This could increase the cost of solar for everyone.  If this should happen, you can thank Victoria’s Government.

But we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to STCs.  At the moment they are under threat of the Coalition eliminating them, but that’s looking less likely day by day as it’s clear the current cabinet couldn’t organize roots in a root cellar with a fistful of pamphlets on root arrangement.

You must have your Vic rebate approved before you sign a contract for solar.

You must have your rebate approved by Solar Victoria before you even sign a contract to get solar installed. If you sign a contract to get solar installed before you have the rebate approved you will not be able to get the rebate.

Nail Down Those Installation Dates

Victorian solar installers are going to be swamped with work so, assuming you have been approved for the rebate, I suggest making sure both you and your installer are clear on when your system will be installed by.  You don’t want to arrange an installation and then wait for months to have it done.

Beware Of Cheap And Nasty Solar

There are fewer shonky businesses in the solar industry than several years ago. But, if I know my shonks, and I should with my degree in Shonkology2, they will come crawling out of the woodwork to take advantage of the Victorian Solar Rebate.

Beware of incredibly cheap solar.  Victoria may see small systems advertised for only $1,000, or you may see massive systems advertised for $2,225 – including the maxed out Victorian Rebate. But with the rebate, solar power will be so cheap anyway it will make no sense not to pay a little bit extra to get a system that has decent quality hardware and is professionally installed. So please, Victorians, take a deep breath – do your research – and then confidently engage an installer with a good reputation, take advantage of your government’s generosity, and get a quality solar power system on your roof for $2225 cheaper than you could last week.

UPDATE September 17: Applications are now being accepted for the rebate – here’s what you need to know.

Footnotes

  1. They have brains for brains.  The taste is completely different and it’s very high in cholesterol.
  2. Acquired from Trump University.
About Ronald Brakels

Many years ago now, Ronald Brakels was born in Toowoomba. He first rose to international prominence when his township took up a collection to send him to Japan, which was the furthest they could manage with the money they raised. He became passionately interested in environmental matters upon his return to Australia when the local Mayor met him at the airport and explained it was far too dangerous for him to return to Toowoomba on account of climate change and mutant attack goats. Ronald then moved to a property in the Adelaide Hills where he now lives with his horse, Tonto 23.

Comments

  1. Randall Mathews says

    Ronald, I’ve been enjoying your writings for ages, thanks.
    We bit the bullet, cut down two large northside gum trees. and got the three quotes, found our installer and a system, and put up 20 LG330 modules each with a IQ7+ micro inverter. Seven arrays in three different directions and still a bit of shading…tricky but we made the best of the situation. Not the cheapest at all at all.

    It got installed Friday.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Oh man, that’s terrible! If only it had been installed two days later! But at least you have a top notch system. LG panels are among the best and Enphase microinverters have a 10 year warranty which is much better than most inverters — along with having the advantages of microinverters.

      • Randall Mathews says

        Yeah, we get it, and say “well you just gotta laugh, worse things happen at sea” etcetera, but you are right: a top notch system.

        Many thanks for being good at your job. Tell Finn too.

  2. Maybe, with the feral Loony Neanderthal Party apparently being on the verge of deciding that Australia needs a double dissolution feral election, and, a change of feral government, to a Shorty government, the feral ALP can be successfully lobbied, to, if winning government,
    1. stop the reduction in value, of the STC’s, and, preserve the SRES, at its current rates, via legislation, and
    2. legislate the 26% emissions reduction, and
    3. replicate (by matching, dollar for dollar, proportionally, in terms of dollars per thousand people of population) what the Victorian state government has promised to do, but, for the whole country, on a distributed, per capita basis, with the interest-free loans being for up to the maximum single phase sized system, and, repayable over five years, rather than four, and
    3. Implement all of this via legislation, so that it can not be reduced without the approval of both chambers of the feral parliament, and
    4. of course, apply the personal income tax reductions for incomes less than members of parliaments, immediately, so that we plebs do not have to wait a year or so, to find whether the personal income tax cuts will really happen (we believe them, if and when we see them, and, not before), and, so that we could use the income tax cuts, if they really happen, to help pay for domestic rooftop photovoltaic systems.

  3. The above article contains the bar graph with the title “Percentage of dwellings with a PV system by State/Territory”.

    I am wondering whether, each month, the Solar Quotes blog thingy could publish, in a dedicated article/report, a table with the numbers, like the table (I don’t know how this will be displayed)


    Solar installations in Australia

    State/Territory Installations Percentage dwellings MW
    Queensland 485,794 30 1,602
    South Australia 200,213 30 690
    Western Australia 211,091 24 645
    Victoria 294,815 15 968
    New South Wales 343,930 15 1,314
    Australian Capital Territory 17,185 14 77
    Tasmania 27,836 13 98
    Northern Territory 6,253 10 50
    1,587,117
    Source: State of Solar 2016

    (That is copied from an ABC online news report)

    with an additional column of “MW/(1000 people)” or something similar.

    I think it could be quite useful, as, while, for example, NSW has (in that data) the second greatest number of installations, it is not second in the percentage of dwellings.

  4. How can customer apply for the rebate? Is there a form to fill out or online application? If there is a link to this that would be great.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Darcy

      I have called Solar Victoria to ask them this question and I couldn’t get through. So I have sent them an email with 3 questions (they told me I could ask them 1 to 3 questions) and as soon as I get a reply I’ll let you know.

      • Hi Ronald and Darcy. I managed to get on to them the day it was announced, and I was told you need to go to their website and use the “Register” option. They will then get back to you as the process evolves.

  5. Another ill-thought policy to get re-elected (only available for 1 year so demand spike will crucify the industry). Pink batts all over again with hopefully less tragic consequences. Meanwhile the poor without standalone housing will have to cope with less punters on the 24/7 network and consequently higher prices. Any other middle class welfare available??

  6. You state in your article that one of the eligibility criteria is that the house must be valued at $3m or less. The wording on the web site is less than $3m. So if your council valuation is $3m, you miss out by $1 😳. I checked by phone and have confirmed this is the case!!

  7. Hi I have just signed up for a 6.6 KW Jinko Eagle PERC Mono 300W (black) solar panel system, 22 panels and a Zever Solar 5000 wifi inverter. For $4500 (before solar rebate) so $2kish out-of-pocket. Is this system worth the money or should I keep looking? Is the rebate 100% confirmed?

    Cheers,
    Dan

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Only $4,500 for a 6.6 kilowatt system is a very competitive price. Jinko panels are lower cost but they are tier one and should be reliable. Zerver Solar is also a lower cost inverter but, from what I’ve heard, it appears to provide value for what you pay. If the system is installed by people who do good quality work, then it’s a good price.

  8. I had my solar fitted and I registered with the Gov programme, sent all the required documentation in 10 weeks ago and still no rebate. I rang them and they just have a call centre running because they got inundated and are not sure how long it will take to get the systems in place to assess and pay people. This as of my phone call to them on the 23/11/2018 , more Gov smoke and mirrors.

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