Victorian Government Solar Homes Scheme: A Guide for Retailers
The Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Program has changed as of 1 July 2019. We've compiled a quick overview to get you up to speed. Read on to learn more.
By Carly Nichols
14 June 2019
What you need to know as a solar retailer
1 July: what does the scheme look like?
1 July 2019 brings a host of changes to the program, and most importantly, re-opens the program for the popular solar PV rebate applications. There are 6 key changes to know about, which are:
1.Solar PV applications will open up again, together with two new rebates: batteries and solar for renters^.
With a total pot of $1.3bn on offer, 770,000 Victorian households are now set to benefit from the scheme. Over the next 12 months the Victorian Government will:
- support the installation of 40,000 solar systems on homes and community-owned housing.
The rebate is up to 50% of the system value, capped at $2,225. Note that this
amount reduces each year, down to $1,850 by 2021.
- deliver 2,000 solar panel systems on rental properties: similar to the above, this
rebate is capped and involves renters and landlords contributing to the
- help 6,000 households to install solar hot water systems
- deliver solar battery rebates for 1,000 households which already have rooftop solar in
The full detail for each aspect of the scheme can be found at https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/Solar-rebates
One important point, which remains the same across both the old and new schemes, is that installation cannot take place before the homeowner receives their rebate eligibility. It is an ‘eligibility number’ and homeowners are required to have this first, before installation.
2. Rebate approvals are capped each month
A total of 3,333 rebates for rooftop solar panels will be available through an online portal for homeowners, while 166 will be available for landlords and renters. Where the allocation is exhausted they will have to wait until the following month to apply. There are also caps on the annual number of rebates: 42,000 (solar PV systems), 6,000 (solar hot water), 1,000 (batteries)
3. The eligibility criteria looks beyond home ownership^
The scheme is open to homeowners who
have not installed solar and / or battery in the past, provided they meet the
- A total household income threshold up to $180,000
- An estimated home value not exceeding $3m
Renters are also eligible, where their landlord also wants to participate.
With the Solar hot water system scheme, eligible homeowners can have an existing system, but it is required to
be at least 3 years old to qualify for a rebate on a replacement system.
4. The updated program from 1 July 2019 features a more streamlined application and approval system.
While the first phase of the program relied on a rebate application after installation, this next phase will see the Victorian Government roll in a new portal capable of taking electronic applications and providing instant approvals. This means the rebate will offset against the purchase price for the customer and the Government will settle the rebate amount directly with you, the vendor.
5. As a solar retailer, you get paid the rebate amount quickly and directly from Solar Vic
Solar Vic (the government agency running the program) will pay vendors every 2 weeks.
6. To be eligible as a vendor, you need to have Solar Retailer Status
One of the requirements of Solar Vic is that all participating vendors gain CEC Solar Retailer Status. You can do this by applying directly through the CEC. Note that for the top 150 vendors (based on sales volume in the program up to the end of March 2019), they needed to do this by 1 July. For all other vendors, the deadline is 1 November.
Things you can do, now that the rebate is live!
1. Get set up on the Solar Victoria portal
Make sure you’re all set to go when the rebate goes live. You can access the portal here.
2. Get your Solar Retailer Status
Don’t forget that you’ll need CEC Solar Retailer status to participate in the scheme. You can apply here.
3. Get your financing options in place.
With the rebates and Government’s interest free loans on solar PV capped at $4,450, your customers may require a payment option to fund the gap.
The rebate goes a long way to making solar PV, battery and solar hot water systems affordable for everyday Australians, but there’s still a cost to them with this scheme. In addition to Brighte’s 0% Interest Payment Plan*, a recently launched low rate Green Loan** is tailored specifically for these purchases and can cover homeowners who meet the lending criteria for an amount from $1,000 – $45,000. With two Brighte products to choose from, this means eligible Victorian homeowners can repay in affordable, fortnightly amounts over time. Make sure you’re set up and ready to run with Brighte – with this fast, point-of-sale finance, you’ll be ready to close the influx of deals likely to come your way this year with demand driven by the Victorian Government rebate.
4. Focus on customers not eligible for the current scheme
Not all homeowners are eligible for a rebate on July 1. In particular, any households with an existing solar system don’t qualify. Upgrades from smaller, 1.5kW systems are one of the biggest source of sales among Australian solar retailers, so don’t forget to reconnect with some of your previous customers to look for new sales.
In addition, homeowners with an income over $180k, or with a home valued at over $3M, won’t be eligible for the rebates, so these areas of the market represent potential customers for your June sales.
For more information on eligibility, the Solar Victoria website has some helpful information on this page.
^The information provided is general in nature only and does not constitute personal or commercial advice. The above blog is a summary of Brighte's interpretation of the Solar Victoria's Solar Homes Program. You should consult the Solar Victoria website for the Government's latest communication on the program. For more information please visit https://www.solar.vic.gov.au/Solar-rebates. Brighte 0% Interest Payment Plans and Brighte Green Loan are not available for renters and updates on the rental property part of the Solar Victoria's Solar Homes Program is for information only.
*Brighte's 0% Interest Payment Plan: Loan term range from 6-60 months. Finance amount $1,000 - $30,000. A $2.15 Weekly Account Keeping Fee is applicable. $75 establishment fee payable on the customer's first repayment date. Late payment fee of $4.99 may be charged by Brighte in the event of missed payment. Late payment fees are capped at $49.90 per calendar year.
** Brighte's Green Loan: Loan term range from 24months-84 months. Finance amount $1,000 - $30,000. Late payment fee of $4.99 may be charged by Brighte in the event of missed payment. Information and interest rates are current as at 13th June 2019 and are subject to change.