There have been a number of questions from members of the public about the Solar Homes Package, how the rebates work and the impact for individuals, installers and retailers.

Please select a category:

General Questions


When should I pay money to my solar retailer/installer?

You should not make any payment to a solar provider until your eligibility has been confirmed by Solar Victoria

Do I have to change energy providers to get solar?

No, you do not need to change energy providers. However, some providers offer better solar-feed-in-tariffs, so it is worth shopping around for the best deal.


Will I need a permit? What about homes with heritage status?

In most instances you won’t need a permit to install a solar PV system. Some local governments may require a permit in certain circumstances, for example if you are in a heritage overlay area or your property is a listed heritage building. Generally, even if you are in a heritage area, many councils still don’t require permits if your solar SV system is not visible from the street (or a public park). Contact your local council for advice.


How can I make sure I do not receive unwanted phone calls from solar companies?

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) operates the ‘Do Not Call Register’. This is a free service where consumers can securely register their home, mobile or fax numbers for free to reduce unsolicited telemarketing calls. Further information is available here


My financial circumstances have changed since my last Tax Assessment Notice. What can I provide to show the change in my financial circumstances?

People with changed financial circumstances will be given an opportunity to provide alternative evidence during the application process if their most recent tax assessment notice does not reflect their current financial situation.


How will the government ensure people are equipped to make informed decisions about solar energy?

Additional information is available at www.solar.vic.gov.au to ensure Victorians can make informed decisions about how solar PV systems work, choosing quality systems and installers, solar hot water and more.

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Solar Homes Package


What does the Solar Homes package offer?


The Solar Homes package is about giving Victorian households greater control over their household bills.

From 19 August 2018, the Victorian Government will provide a 50 per cent rebate on the cost of an average 4kW solar PV system, (currently a $2,225 rebate for a system costing $4,450), or a $1,000 rebate on the cost of a solar hot water system.

Households will be able to save on average $890 per year off their bill through installing a solar PV system, and between $160-$400 a year off their bill by replacing their current water heater with a solar option.

As a consumer, how do I apply to be part of this Package?

Consumers can register their interest at the Solar Victoria website. Consumers can also find out about the steps required to be part of the program at www.solar.vic.gov.au.

Where do I find out about the battery rebates that I heard about in the news recently?

The Solar Homes package includes two rebates that are available now. Eligible householders are able to apply for rebates for the installation of solar PV or the installation of a Solar Hot Water system to replace an existing hot water system.

Rebates for the installation of batteries are not currently available, however you may have heard in the media that these might become available in the future.

I’ve heard mention of a no interest loan to help me pay for the solar pv panels on my home, but I can’t see it mentioned on the website.

The Solar Homes Package launched on August 19, 2018 currently consists of two components that are available from 19 August, 2018 until 30 June 2019:

  • Rebates on Solar Panels
  • Rebates on Solar Hot Water systems

Loans are not currently part of the package.

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Installations


How do I choose a qualified solar panel installer?


There are a number of options to choose your solar panel installer. You can contact installers in your area directly – a list of Clean Energy Council-accredited installers is maintained by the Clean Energy Council. Or you can use a third-party Solar Quote Provider (there are many available if you search online) to organise three independent quotes from CEC-Accredited Installers. All quotes should be provided free and under no-obligation.

The Solar Homes package will only rebate installation by listed CEC accredited installers who also:

  • have had no prosecutions registered with WorkSafe in the past three years
  • hold an unrestricted Class A Electrical Licence registered with Energy Safe Victoria.

Your website says that the Solar Homes Package is available for solar PV or solar hot water installations that occur on or after 19 August 2018. How is the date of installation defined?

The date of installation is defined as the date the system was inspected, as stated on the Certificate of Electrical Safety. Installation does not include connection to the grid.

Are there enough skilled trades people to install all of the new solar PV systems?

There are over 30,000 qualified electricians in Victoria, of which around 1,000 are currently accredited by the CEC to install solar PV systems.

Solar Victoria will work with installers, industry associations, unions, regulators and Registered Training Organisations including TAFEs to expand training and accreditation to ensure that the Solar Homes package is delivered to a high standard, safely and provides maximum opportunities for Victorian businesses and jobs.

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Eligibility


What are the eligibility criteria?


Victorian households are eligible to receive a rebate under the Solar Homes package if the applicant: For all rebates:

  • has a combined household taxable income of less than $180,000 per annum (based on the 2016/17 or 2017/18 tax assessment notices for the home owners or alternative proof of income for the 2016-17 or 2017-18 financial year. For example, proof of pension received)
  • is an owner-occupier of a home valued at under $3,000,000 (a copy of a recent Council rates notice will be required)

For solar PV system rebates:

  • does not already have a solar PV system installed on their property
  • chooses a Clean Energy Council (CEC) Approved Product and uses a CEC Accredited Installer (for solar PV systems)
  • has had, or is planning to have, an eligible solar PV system installed on or after 19 August 2018
  • engages an installer who can provide a statement that they have not received a WorkSafe prosecution in the past three years
  • is an early adopter of Solar PV looking to replace or expand their system.*

*Early adopters of solar PV, who meet all other eligibility criteria, are able to claim a rebate for a new or expanded system. An early adopter is defined as a solar system that was installed prior to the commencement of the Premium Feed-In Tariff (PFIT) on November 1, 2009. Your Distribution Network Service Provider can confirm that the date on which your solar PV system was connected to the grid was prior to the start of the PFIT. Other than for early adopters, the solar rebate cannot be used to expand an existing solar panel installation.

Not-for-profit community housing providers will also be eligible to apply for a rebate on behalf of their tenants.

For solar hot water rebates:

  • chooses a product that is on the Clean Energy Regulator's ‘Register of approved solar hot water heaters’ (for Solar hot water)

Are holiday homes eligible for the Solar Homes Package

No. Only installations on your primary residence are eligible.

Will people who already have solar PVs be able to benefit from this program?

Early adopters of solar PV, who meet all other eligibility criteria, are able to claim a rebate for a new or expanded system. An early adopter is defined as a solar PV system that was installed prior to the commencement of the Premium Feed-In Tariff (PFIT) on 1 November 2009. Your Distribution Network Service Provider can confirm that the date on which your solar PV system was connected to the grid was prior to the start of the PFIT. Other than for early adopters, the solar PV rebate cannot be used to expand an existing solar PV installation.

Am I eligible if I’m off grid?

Yes, if you meet all other eligibility criteria.

Off-grid homes will not be required to submit the Solar Connection Form but are still required to provide:

  • Certificate of Electrical Safety
  • PV Small-Scale Technology Certificate (STC) Assignment Form
  • Electrical Work Request, CR Number, or similar evidence of notification to the distributor and retailer of the solar installation
  • Tax Invoice / Receipt including total cost of system installation, any discounts and rebates applied (e.g. STCs), and the balance paid in full by you. If the balance is subject to a repayment plan provided by your Solar Provider please ensure this is documented in the receipt or additional documentation is provided.

What about people living in social housing or public housing?

Not-for-profit community housing providers are eligible to apply for rebates on behalf of their tenants. This is a great opportunity for housing providers to help reduce cost of living pressures for some of our most vulnerable families. Details of how to access the rebate will be released after consultation with stakeholders. In the meantime, housing providers can contact Solar Victoria to register their interest via www.solar.vic.gov.au or call 1300 363 744.

If I receive a rebate from Solar Victoria, am I still eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) under the Federal Government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme?

Yes. Solar Homes rebates are additional to the federal STC scheme. Rebates will be calculated after the STC discount has been applied.

I live in an apartment – what am I eligible for?

Owner-occupiers of apartments can be eligible for this program, but it can be difficult or often impossible to install solar in high rise structures. Many apartment buildings, flats and units, are governed by Owners’ Corporations. If this applies to you, you will need to consult with your Owners’ Corporation.

Victorians can also access a range of existing programs to improve their energy efficiency or lower their power costs, including the $50 incentive for using the Energy Compare website.

Can I claim a Solar Homes rebate if I am part of a solar scheme run by a local Council or through another Victorian Government program?

If you are eligible for a Solar Homes rebate, then it is in addition to any other scheme that you are eligible for. However, the value of the rebate you are entitled to is calculated on the residual cost of the installation after the benefit of any other schemes has been applied. For example, Solar Homes rebates require that the installation is eligible for Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), but the Solar Homes rebate value will be calculated after the benefit of the STCs as been deducted from the price of the system.

A number of local governments run bulk buy programs, loan schemes and lease arrangements for solar PV. You can apply the Solar Homes rebate to these programs if you meet the eligibility requirements of both programs (Solar Homes and the Council scheme). Some things to keep in mind:

  • In some Council schemes the household does not own the solar PV system (eg. a lease arrangement) and in that case the household is not eligible for a Solar Homes rebate.
  • A Council scheme might bundle together a number of things (like a home energy audit as well as a solar installation) but the Solar Homes rebate is only calculated on the value of the solar PV system alone, not the other elements).

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Solar PV Systems


How do I choose a good quality solar PV system?


All systems listed as Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved products meet Australian Standards and are accredited as Approved Products by the Clean Energy Council. To be eligible for a rebate, products must be on this list. A link to the CEC approved products list is provided on www.solar.vic.gov.au

How does the Solar Homes rebate impact the federal Small Technology Certificate scheme?

Solar Homes rebates are additional to the federal STC scheme. Rebates will be calculated after the STC discount has been applied.

Is there a minimum size solar PV system that is eligible under Solar Homes?

No. The Victorian Government has said that it will provide a 50 per cent rebate on the cost of a solar PV system, up to a maximum rebate of $2,225.

Is there a maximum size system that is eligible under Solar Homes?

The Solar Homes rebate program has no maximum, however you will need to speak to your installer to ensure the size of your system meets any other restrictions that may be in place. Note that the rebate available has a maximum value of $2,225 for eligible households.

If I am buying a solar PV system under the Solar Homes Package can I also buy a battery?

Yes, but the rebate is calculated on the cost of the solar PV system alone. The Victorian Government has said that it will provide a 50 per cent rebate on the cost of a solar PV system, up to a maximum rebate of $2,225.

How can people determine which solar PV products and installers are approved?

Lists of approved products and approved installers are available via links to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) approved lists at www.solar.vic.gov.au to ensure people can easily determine what is approved and therefore eligible.

How many solar systems are there in Victoria?

Approximately 350,000 solar systems have been installed in Victoria.

How much will a household save on energy bills by installing solar PV?

Installing solar PV will save a typical household around $890 per annum off their electricity bill.

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Solar Hot Water


How much will a typical household save if they install solar hot water?


A typical household can save $160-$400 per annum on their bills by using solar hot water.

Can replacement solar water heating systems also claim support through the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) scheme?

Yes.

Does the Solar Homes Package cover new solar water heaters or is it just for replacement systems?

The Solar Homes Package only supports the installation of replacement hot water systems, including existing solar hot water heaters.

How many solar hot water systems are there in Victoria?

Approximately 288,000 solar hot water systems have been installed in Victoria.

What is the product accreditation requirement for solar water heaters?

A product that is on the Clean Energy Regulator's "Register of approved solar hot water heaters" (for Solar hot water)

What is the installer accreditation requirement for solar water heaters?

The normal accreditation requirements for solar water heater installations apply, however there are no additional requirements for the Solar Homes Package.

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Scams


I had a phone call from someone claiming to be from Solar Victoria. They asked from my bank details so that they could deposit my rebate. Is this a scam?


We have received alerts that scammers have been targeting Victorian households.

Be alert to callers claiming to be from the Victorian Government or Solar Victoria requesting bank account details. Solar Victoria will never ask you to provide personal details such as your banking information over the phone.

If you believe you are being contacted by a scammer or have been contacted by someone engaging in fraudulent of dishonest activities relating to solar rebates please contact the following immediately:

How is the Solar Homes Package protecting consumers?

Solar Victoria is working with industry to develop a comprehensive system to improve consumer protections and the standards of the solar industry.

The Solar Homes program requires solar panel installers to be accredited by the Clean Energy Council and only install products approved by the CEC. Accredited installers are bound by an installers’ Code of Conduct, which acts to guide the behaviour of accredited installers, and the standards of conduct and professionalism expected of them. 

The Clean Energy Council also maintains a Solar Retailer Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct is voluntary, and aims to lift the bar higher than the minimum requirements set by government and regulators and improve professionalism in the solar industry by encouraging solar businesses to show their commitment to responsible sales and marketing activities and solar industry best practice. The Code is authorised by the ACCC. People using companies who’ve signed on to the code can be confident that they're working with a reputable retailer.  

The Smart Energy Council also provides helpful information regarding the quality of solar panels at https://www.smartenergy.org.au/about

I have been told that rebates are running out and tht I need to sign up now to get a rebate. Is this the case?

The rebates program is open until 30 June 2019.

Be wary of unscrupulous operators who try to pressure you into purchasing Solar PV Panels or Solar Hot Water systems by claiming the rebates are running out.

Solar Victoria manages the rebates program and will be able to provide you up to date information on the rebate program. Fraud and dishonest activity can undermine the community’s trust in government programs. Please report anyone (individual/solar provider/installer/organisation) you believe to be engaging in fraudulent or dishonest activities.

If you believe you are being contacted by a scammer or have been contacted by someone engaging in fraudulent of dishonest activities relating to solar rebates please contact the following immediately:

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For Installers and Retailers


How is the rebate paid? Is it paid directly to the installer as a point of sale discount? Will the rebate be paid after the installation?


Rebates will initially be provided to householders directly. In the coming months Solar Victoria will develop a streamlined process that will enable installers to distribute the rebate as part of their invoicing. Solar Victoria will work with installers to develop the specific details.

As an installer, how do I apply to be part of this program?

If you are an accredited installer under the CEC Solar Accreditation Scheme you will be eligible to take part in the program, provided you meet the additional eligibility requirements listed at http://www.solar.vic.gov.au/Approved-installers.

Installers not yet accredited can contact CEC to seek accreditation.

Installers can register here to receive further updates on the program.

As a solar retailer, how do I apply to be part of this program?

Any solar retailer is eligible to participate in the program providing they use installers certified through the CEC Solar Accreditation Scheme and products certified under the CEC Approved Products list. Retailers can register here to receive further updates.

What is the installer accreditation requirement for solar PV systems under the Solar Homes Package?

Solar PV installers are required to hold an unrestricted Class A Electrical Licence registered with Energy Safe Victoria, and be accredited by the CEC Solar Accreditation Scheme.

Further information on the requirements for installers is available here. Installers will also need to provide a statement that they have had no significant contravention history, or prosecutions registered with WorkSafe Victoria in the past three years (or with an equivalent authority in another Australian jurisdiction).

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