The Victorian Solar Rally, organised by the Smart Energy Council and solar industry group Solar Cutters was promised last week by SEC CEO John Grimes in a passionate webinar discussion: “This is not our first rodeo,” said Grimes, “Smart Energy Council runs campaigns, and we win.”
The rally is seeking to whip round the heads of government who seem determined to believe their Solar Homes Programis going swimmingly, and not the way of Harold Holt. The SEC and the wider solar industry are hoping to convince the government that the solar rebate is, firstly, excessively difficult to get at in its technologically bureaucratic web, and that customers are missing out.
Secondly, and even more importantly, the rally is demanding a massive and immediate increase in the number of rebates. The program has inadvertently (we hope) introduced boom and bust cycles into Victoria’s solar economy, an unintended consequence which has, in the words of one emotional solar company owner, brought the industry to “a grinding halt.”
Although the solar industry supports the Andrews Government’s “endeavour to increase the behind the meter renewable energy generation which will lower electricity costs and reduce the state’s carbon emissions,” the shoddy way in which the scheme has been rolled out has unintentionally blown out the tyres of the state’s solar industry. Or, as one SEC member who Grimes quoted directly put it, it is as if the “government has their foot on the accelerator and the brake at the same time.”
After meeting with Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio last week, Grimes is convinced that without a radical amount of pressure the government will not make the radical changes required to save the industry. “If radical change is not made by the first of August,” said Grimes, “then there are massive consequences…it will be a bloodbath in the industry.”
The Rally’s organisers ask that “If you work in solar, if your family has been affected, if you have missed out on the rebate” or if you’ve lost the warranty on your solar home installation with the collapse of the installing company, the Victorian Solar Rally “needs you. This is your chance to force a change. Be there.”
You can register your attendance and find out more information here.