Victorians invited to apply for rooftop solar rebates


The Victorian government has opened applications for half-price solar panel rebates, thus officially launching its landmark $1.24 billion renewable energy program – Solar Homes.

Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio today announced that eligible Victorian households who installed solar panels on or after 19 August can now apply for a rebate, up to a maximum of $2,225.

“We’re offering half-priced rebates on solar panels from today, to save Victorians money and give them control back over their power bills,” said D’Ambrosio.

The Solar Homes program, announced just three weeks ago, holds a promise to put solar panels on 650,000 Victorian homes over ten years.

Under the program, Victorians will be able to install a solar panel system for half price and pay the rest of the cost back over four years with an interest-free loan, saving up to $890 a year on their power bills.

To be eligible for a rebate, applicants must have a household income of less than $180,000, and be the owner and occupier of the property, which must be valued at less than $3 million.

The government reported that since the program’s announcement, more than 10,000 people registered their interest in rebates, while solar installation companies have received a flood of inquiries.

Since the rooftop solar uptake is expected to skyrocket under the program, the Victorian government put in place new provisions earlier this week to protect systems from overshadowing by neighboring developments 

The changes mean overshadowing of existing home solar panels and solar hot water systems must be considered in planning decisions – ensuring the capacity of an existing rooftop solar facility on a neighboring property in most areas is not unreasonably reduced, the government said in a statement, without specifying the capacity reduction that will be deemed unreasonable.

Overall, the Solar Homes program aims to cut electricity bills, not only with solar panels, but also solar hot water and solar batteries, comprising in total 720,000 Victorian homes.

For homes not fit for rooftop solar panels, the government is providing $1,000 rebate on solar hot water systems, which are expected to open shortly.

Under the $60 million package, the rebate on solar hot water systems is available to up to 6,000 households from today and will be expanded to 60,000 households from July next year, under a re-elected Andrews Labor Government.

As it revealed the results of its inaugural reverse auction, which delivered 928 MW of renewable capacity earlier this week, the Victorian government announced a $40 million scheme to subsidize the installation of battery storage in 10,000 homes.

As part of the Solar Home initiative, the Andrews government pledged to provide subsidies of up to $4,838, depending on the size of the battery, if re-elected in the November state elections.

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