The rebate counter on the Solar Victoria website was turning faster than ever on Thursday morning as the application portal reopened in the wake of technical difficulties. The expended September allocation was exhausted in under one hour amid pent-up demand.
Soon after the release of the September offering of 6,500 rooftop PV rebates on Monday morning, Solar Victoria’s application portal encountered technical difficulties and was taken offline. Only 40 minutes after it reopened for business on Thursday, Solar Victoria posted a message on its social media channels saying the first round of September rebates was fully subscribed.
With around 500 rebates claimed on Monday before the portal crashed, the remaining allocation was exhausted in record time despite the boosted offering. For comparison, the original monthly allocation of 3,333 was snapped up in three days in July and exhausted in under 90 minutes in August.
The new round of rebates follows substantial changes wrought to the Solar Homes program in the wake of solar rallies on the steps of Victorian Parliament and outside the offices of Premier Daniel Andrews staged against the adverse effect of the rebate program rollout. The Government responded to industry concerns and introduced a number changes, including a big increase in rebate allocations and streamlining of the laborious online application portal.
The most important change is the addition of a substantial number of rebates in September and a less prominent but continual increase every month for the remainder of the financial year. The program was scheduled to release 6,500 rebates on Monday and 3,250 rebates a fortnight later, bringing the total number of September rebates to 9,750.
Altogether, the increased allocation has taken the total number of 2019 rebates to more than 60,000, which represents an increase of more than 50%. There will be two releases each month and the rebate value will drop from $2,225 in January to $1,888, through to the end of the financial year.
In an attempt to reduce the challenges in the application process, retailers will be able to lodge final online quotes through the portal at any time, reducing pressure on the system. Other changes include the reservation of a number of rebates for offline applications.
While the industry has welcomed the Government’s changes to Solar Homes program, the effect is yet to be seen. The latest round of allocations indicates that there is still a long way to go before supply and demand even out.