There’s A New Solar Rebate On The Block For Victorians – But Look Before You Leap!

Last Updated: 2nd Sep 2019

By Finn Peacock – Chartered Electrical Engineer, Ex-CSIRO, Founder of SolarQuotes.com.au

Australia’s national “solar rebate” has been with us for almost a decade. The details of how it works are complicated  (I go through it in detail here) – but the effect for Australian homeowners is very simple . It makes solar systems cheaper to buy. Typically one-third cheaper than they’d be without the rebate.

Whenever you see an ad for solar power, the advertised price will already include the rebate. For example, a system on sale for $6,000 is actually worth closer to $9,000. The installer claims the rebate on your behalf when you buy a system, so you only pay the advertised price.

This solar rebate is a national, federal scheme.

Enter The Victorian Government’s Solar Rebate…

NOTE: The second round of Victoria’s program  began on July 1, and as a subsidy rather than a rebate – but that word has stuck and the Victorian Government is still using the term “rebate”, so we’ll still use it at times too.

Please be aware that you must have your subsidy approved before your solar power system is installed – otherwise you will not receive the rebate. You cannot install solar panels and then apply for the rebate afterwards.

During the second phase of Victoria’s program, a set number of solar PV rebates are made available each month during 2019/20 – and given the pent-up demand after the subsidy freeze in April, the allocations are being snapped up quickly.

My advice:

  • Get quotes for solar now. If you decide to go ahead – advise the chosen installer but do not pay a deposit or sign a contract.
  • Work with your installer to apply for the VIC solar rebate. If the rebates available for the month are snapped up before you apply, get ready for the following month.
  • Once your VIC rebate is confirmed; i.e. you have the eligibility number – sign the contract and pay the deposit.
  • Get your solar power system installed and pay the balance. Enjoy tiny bills for decades.

Solar Homes Package Details

In August 2018, the Victorian government announced their own state-level rebate scheme:  the ‘Solar Homes Package‘.

The value of this Victorian rebate is ‘up to’ a value of $2,225 or 50% of the price; whichever is lowest. So:

  • if you buy a solar system for $3,000, you can apply for a $1,500 rebate 
  • if you purchase a system for $4,450 you can apply for the maximum $2,225 rebate
  • if you buy a system for $6,000 you can only apply for a $2,225 rebate – because it’s capped.

You are eligible if you live in a home worth under $3 million with a household income under $180,000. That’s 9 out of 10 Victorian homeowners.

The Victorian government’s rebate is on top of the federal scheme.

So if you buy a solar system advertised at $4,450 (which would typically be 4-5kW of panels) then claim the Victorian rebate of $2,225, are actually getting a system worth $6,690 (remember the Federal rebate was already applied to the advertised price) for $2,225. 

Victoria's Solar Homes rebate and federal solar subsidy

That’s huge.

Who is eligible for the rebate/subsidy, specifically?

To quote the Victorian government’s Solar Victoria website:

Victorian households are eligible to receive a rebate for installing a solar PV system if they meet the following criteria:

  • they are the owner-occupier of the property
  • the owners have a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per year (based on last year’s Australian Tax Office Notice of Assessment)
  • it is an existing property, valued at under $3 million
  • they do not have an existing solar PV system

On the last point, early adopters who installed a solar power system prior to 1 November 2009 are eligible to replace or expand their existing system.

How do I claim the VIC solar rebate?

  • Contact your chosen solar provider for a quote.
  • The provider will upload your quote to the Solar Victoria Portal, which starts the online process for your eligibility assessment.
  • Once this is complete, upload proof of income and a council rates notice to confirm your details.
  • When eligibility is confirmed, you will receive an eligibility number
  • Give the eligibility number to your solar provider, who will then be able to proceed with the installation
  • The provider will claim the subsidy on your behalf and deduct the subsidy amount from the total cost of your system.
  • You pay the outstanding balance directly to your provider once your solar power system is installed

Can I ‘double up’ and claim both the Victorian Solar Homes rebate as well as the federal rebate?

Yes – as my example above showed. However, be aware you can only claim the Victorian rebate once, but can claim the federal solar rebate as many times as you like (for multiple properties, or new installations, etc). You are also not allowed to claim the Victorian government’s rebate to upgrade an existing system – if you already have solar panels on your roof, you’re only eligible for the federal rebate (except in the example provided above).

Should I be in a rush to claim it? What else should I know about solar power before going to get quotes?

The first phase of Victorian rebate was fully funded until June the 30th 2019 or until 24,000 households took it up; whichever came first. On April 12, 2019, Solar Victoria announced the program for 2018-19 was fully subscribed.

The scheme kicked off again on July 1, with a set number of rebates available each month, accompanied by an option for no-interest loans to cover the unsubsidised balance of a system. Over the life of the Solar Homes Package, the aim is to see solar panels installed on a total of 650,000 homes.

In the first 24 hours after the rebate was originally announced, there was a massive rush on solar panels in Victoria. My ‘Get 3 Quotes for solar’ service saw a 1000% increase in Victorian submissions compared to the day before the announcement. So let no one say that Victorians aren’t swayed by free money!

My honest opinion is that while there’s never a better time to buy a system than the present, and people are always welcome to request quotes for solar, please, please…

Look before you leap!

You only get one shot at this generous rebate so use it to invest in a system that will do the job you need it to; producing heaps of energy all year round to get your electricity bills as low as possible.

Stop, take a breath, and check out this short video below I put together summarising everything I think the average Aussie should know about solar power before getting quotes:

Now that you’re up to speed:

Solar panels are quick and easy to install, but first you need to find the right installer. There are thousands of solar panel installers in Australia, many of whom operate in Victoria.

My website, SolarQuotes, provides you with 3 free, no-obligation quotes from pre-vetted installers I trust to install a well-performing system at a fair price so you can get a solar power system that will give you low bills for decades to come.

SolarQuotes operates on a very simple philosophy – if we wouldn’t recommend an installer to our grandmothers, we won’t recommend them to you. This means we only keep companies in our network who use accredited solar installers, use quality solar equipment, and care about the installation on your roof.

We’ve been operating since 2009 and are Australia’s #1 Solar Comparison site, with over 360,000 homes across Australia trusting us to organise their no-obligation quotes.

If you’re considering installing solar panels for your home or business, SolarQuotes can help you get quotes from high-quality installation professionals quickly and easily:

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.

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