Labor’s botched solar program strikes again
02 August 2019
Applications for August’s Solar Victoria rebates have closed once again just 90 minutes after they opened at 9am Thursday morning.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the government’s mishandling of the program was a significant blow to the local solar industry.
This week’s debacle comes after the sudden closure of the program in April and its disastrous reopening in July when applications reached capacity within 60 hours.
“The uncertainty of Victoria’s Solar Homes Package has seen families across the North East miss out on the promised solar rebate,” Ms Ryan said.
“Businesses also face crippling losses as people cancel orders and installers lose jobs.”
Ms Ryan said that the government’s mishandling of the program had prompted the chief executive of the Smart Energy Council John Grimes to launch a stinging attack, saying that “the Solar Homes Program has been a catastrophe for the Victoria solar industry” and called on the Premier make urgent changes to the program.
“You are more likely to encounter a unicorn in Victoria today, than meet someone who was successful in securing a rebate,” Mr Grimes said.
Smart Energy Council surveyed 60 Victoria solar businesses this week and found that 80 per cent of those retailers have either closed or are concerned they will close soon as a result of the government’s flawed program.
“77 per cent of those businesses said staff had been made redundant or were expected to be made redundant,” Mr Grimes said.
“We told the government their scheme was broken – that customers were missing out, that dozens of solar companies were going broke and that thousands of Victorians who had solar already were about to lose their warranty support because their installer just went broke.
“The government just dug in.”
Ms Ryan previously raised her concerns regarding the Solar Homes Program in Parliament in June, including the impact it had left for local businesses and installers after rebates closed in April.
“It is completely baffling that Labor’s so-called solar revolution is causing such extensive damage to a sector it’s supposed to assist,” Ms Ryan said.
“Under the current solar panel rebate program, the number of state-wide residential installations has fallen from 6,000 per month to the rebate cap of 3,333.
“The government must act immediately to fix this botched program.”