46,000 rooftop PV installs under Victoria’s Solar Homes program

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The Victorian Labor government has released new data on its Solar Homes program, showing over 62,000 rebates for solar panels, solar hot water, solar batteries and no-interest loans so far secured by Victorian households. The biggest success story is, not surprisingly, on the rooftop PV side with as many as 46,000 installs to date.

There has been an overwhelming response to the solar rebate program since Day 1, with demand well outstripping supply. In September, for instance, one round was taken up in less than 20 minutes. The latest government data show where the rebates were going.

Melbourne’s outer suburbs have been the most popular for solar panels under the program, with top locations including Tarneit, Clyde North, Point Cook, Craigieburn, Truganina, Wyndham Vale, Cranbourne East, Pakenham, Berwick and Cranbourne North. Households outside of Melbourne accounted for 42% of rebate applications.

Households with incomes of less than $105,000, with at least 10% of those earning less than $16,000 a year, have accounted for 69% of the rebates.

Around 640 retailers have secured work through Solar Homes and 5500 new jobs are set to be created in the industry. The figures reveal that the share of applications is dispersed across the industry, with the top retailer securing less than 5% of applications available and 71% of applications shared across retailers outside the top 20.

Since July, the Solar Homes program has been speedily converting rebate applications into installations, with most applications approved and installations completed within the month they are allocated to the customer. According to the government data, Solar Homes is driving a 46% increase in the uptake of solar panels across the state, with residential installations in 2019 on track to deliver solar panels to 60,000 households, compared to about 41,000 installations in 2018.

“Solar Homes is putting power back in the hands of Victorians, helping to drive down household energy bills, reduce emissions and respond to climate change,” Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio said on Thursday. “The latest figures show that Solar Homes has been overwhelmingly popular and Victorians in every part of the state are rushing to be part of the switch to cleaner, cheaper energy.”

While initially, the Solar Homes program had had an adverse effect on the industry in the state creating a boom-and-bust cycle, the Victorian government took heed of the industry concerns and wrought significant changes to their program.

The most important change was the addition of a substantial number of rebates in September – 9,750 rebates up from the original monthly allocation of 3,333 rebates – and 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%.

The next round solar panel rebates will be released on November 1. A total of 3,350 subsidies will be available in the first November batch, followed by another 3,350 mid-month. In December, the number of rebates will fall down to 2,500 per release.