East Gippslanders planning to take advantage of the $1.3 billion solar rebate scheme have been left in limbo after the Andrew’s Labor Government halted it without warning.
“The rebate abruptly ceased on April 12, the government stating the funding has ‘capped out’ – which means they aren’t prepared to spend the money,” said Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“Householders who were intending to install solar panels between April 13 and July 1 have been told they now simply miss out all together on the rebate if they have not already applied for it.”
Many solar panel customers and electricians in East Gippsland have been caught out as there was no forewarning of the program closure.
In Parliament recently, Minister D’Ambrosio was questioned about the suspension of the scheme, but provided no detail for the reason in her response other than to refer to quotas.
Mr Bull said it was baffling why the scheme had ceased, leaving Victorian people confused as to why they cannot access the rebate they were planning for and depending on.
“The government’s self-imposed caps were flexible, meaning they were able to increase the caps as they saw fit based on demand, but not anymore it seems.
“It appears some home owners had approached their solar installation company and were to apply for the rebate after installation. Now, they have been left out of pocket and unable to receive the rebate due to this change.”
Mr Bull met with Independent Specialist Energy Advisor Paul Guest from Guest Energy who had already flagged concerns with the program.
“I was verbally advised by the call centre employee at Solar Victoria that the cap was not absolute and unlikely to be applied, and as long as the householder met the eligibility criteria before the end of the financial year they would still satisfy the criteria for the rebate,” said Mr Guest.
“Whilst the initial intent of the program can be commended, the execution, roll out and resourcing of the program has been less than ideal. To have a program such as this abruptly stop then restart a couple of months later is an extremely disappointing position for a government entity to take.”
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull discusses with Energy Advisor Paul Guest the impact of the sudden halt to the solar rebate scheme which has left some householders and solar installers out of pocket.