This month’s second round offering of 3,250 solar panel rebates was exhausted in around 20 minutes amid pent-up demand. The Tuesday batch followed a release of 6,500 rebates at the start of the month under the Victorian Government’s enhanced Solar Homes program.
The September round of rebates follows substantial changes wrought to the program in the wake of solar rallies 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.
Up from the original monthly allocation of 3,333 rebates, the September offering was substantially boosted to 9,750 rebates. It will be followed by a less prominent but continual increase every month for the remainder of the financial year. 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.
The online application portal showed its weaknesses when it crashed soon upon the release of the first September offering as people rushed to apply. The site was taken offline for the next three days.
While the industry has welcomed the Government’s changes to Solar Homes program, it is yet to be seen whether this will be enough to restore balance in the Victorian solar industry. The next solar rebate offering is scheduled for October 1 when another 3,250 rebates will be released, followed by another 3,250 a fortnight later.