On 12 April 2019, Solar Victoria announced that the program for solar PV was fully subscribed for 2018-19, with the program re-opening on 1 July 2019.

Since then, Solar Victoria has become aware of a number of people who had solar PV systems installed, but did not apply for eligibility confirmation before applications were closed on 12 April 2019. 

In many instances, these individuals installed their systems on misleading advice from solar providers. These solar providers had incorrectly advised their customers that they did not need to contact Solar Victoria or apply for eligibility before installing their systems. This advice is contrary to all information and advice Solar Victoria has published since December 2018.

In other instances, Solar Victoria believes customers may not have adequately understood the process.

The Victorian Government believes that people who bought solar installations in good faith should not be disadvantaged.

If you installed a solar PV system between 19 August 2018 and 12 April 2019 (inclusive), your customers now have until 5pm, Friday 14 June 2019 to submit all the paperwork needed to apply for a rebate in the 2018-19 financial year.

No further applications can be accepted after this date.

 

Next steps

Solar Victoria has contacted some customers affected by this, but we are seeking your help as their installer or retailer to follow up with them to ensure they can complete a solar PV rebate application by 5 pm Friday 14 June 2019.

Please note that this rebate application process is a one-off and will only be available via a unique application form, which will be sent directly to the customer.

 

 

As these will be retrospective applications, there will be rigorous scrutiny of the completion of work date specified on the Certificate of Electrical Safety. Falsifying documents is a serious offence and false or misleading information in a Certificate of Electrical Safety is subject to penalties prescribed by the Electrical Safety Act 1998.

Any suspected falsification or manipulation of the Certificate of Electrical Safety will be referred to Electrical Safety Victoria for investigation and potential disciplinary action. This could result in the suspension or cancellation of licences.

In instances where Solar Victoria has received information or allegations that a solar provider has intentionally misled its customers, we will refer this information to Consumer Affairs Victoria and Clean Energy Council for investigation if appropriate. As the operator of the Solar Homes Program, Solar Victoria determines which companies take part in it and reserves the right to consider the conduct of companies when assessing their suitability.

 

From 1 July 2019

We are proactively working with industry to ensure there is a steady flow of installations. Our data tells us that there are thousands of eligible customers across Victoria that are still awaiting installation of their solar PV systems in the coming months. This is expected to deliver material demand for solar systems during the period until July 1 when the program re-opens. In the meantime, we are working on the next phase of the Solar Homes program as we move to a point-of-sale model and introduce new streams to the program.

Substantial planning and testing of the new point-of-sale application process is underway. We are confident that customer approvals and payments will be able to occur quickly in the next phase of the system. 

We have already asked industry to register their interest in a retailer portal that will be used to process rebate applications from 1 July onwards. This point-of-sale application process takes a preferred-supplier approach, where we only distribute rebates through solar providers that have agreed to Solar Victoria’s terms and conditions and have signed the Clean Energy Council (CEC) Retailer Code of Code.

Once applications for solar PV rebates re-open on 1 July, Solar Victoria will also offer a no-interest loan component to complement the solar PV rebate. Rebates for solar batteries and solar for renters will also start on 1 July 2019. 

We are working closely with industry to ensure a steady flow of rebates will be available across future years. We will closely monitor and manage yearly targets to ensure sustainability for industry and households over the 10-year life of the program. As with this year, a yearly target will be announced before the program re-opens 1 July 2019.

Solar installers and retailers are crucial to the successful implementation of the Solar Homes program and your support ensuring consistent and accurate messaging is vital. We are excited to transition to phase two of the Solar Homes program and look forward to partnering with you as we support Victorians to reduce the cost of their energy bills and embrace renewable energy technologies.