Victorian government to cap solar rebates in response to overwhelming interest

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The Victorian government has decided to introduce annual caps on the number of rebates it will provide for PV arrays, solar hot water applications and battery systems under its landmark $1.3 billion Solar Homes program, as more than 30,000 households have already signed up for rebates. For the current financial year, the rooftop solar rebate program will only reman open for 2,000 more applicants. When the program enters its second phase on July 1, the state government will offer Victorians more rebates for solar panels and solar hot water systems.

“For people who are still considering installing solar, now is the time to do your research. Talk to a participating solar retailer who can help you choose a system which is right for you, so you’re ready to go on July 1,” Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.

The government has reported that the program has been an immense success, noting that it will pay its 10,000th rebate this week. That takes the total savings for Victorian households to more than $21 million since the program was launched last August. This is up from figures that were released in January, when nearly 7,000 rooftop solar systems were installed and around 1,600 households had already received rebates.

“The Solar Homes program has been hugely successful, and plans are well underway for the next phase of the program, which will be bigger and better than ever,” D’Ambrossio said.

The second phase will also mark the start of the government’s no-interest loans offer, which will allow households to install solar without any upfront costs, as well as solar panels for 50,000 rental properties and 10,000 solar batteries.

The introduction of caps is described as an additional measure to boost safety and ensure an orderly rollout of the program. It builds on the government’s decision to make smart inverters mandatory for solar PV installations under the program and introduce safety and industry accreditation requirements for installers and solar retailers.

This year, Victoria is expected to lead the charge in rooftop solar deployment across Australia, largely thanks to the Solar Homes program, which aims to put solar panels on 700,000 Victorian residential properties, including 50,000 rental homes. The scheme also provides support for another 60,000 homes to install solar hot water systems and 10,000 homes to install storage battery applications.

“Tens of thousands of Victorians have taken advantage of our rebates — saving money on installation and slashing their power bills,” Premier Daniel Andrews said. “We’re putting power back into the hands of Victorians — putting a power station on their roof to drive down energy costs, boost supply and fight climate change.”

The Solar Homes program is forecast to cut Victoria’s carbon emissions by almost 4 million tonnes — the equivalent of taking 1 million of the state’s 4.6 million cars off the road. With all the capacity added under the program, household solar is expected to generate 12.5% of Victoria’s 40% target for renewable energy by 2025.