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Notice to Market

The Notice to Market sets out the mandatory and recommended requirements for retailers and installers to participate in the Solar Homes and Solar for Business Programs.

What is the Notice to Market?

The Solar Victoria Notice to Market provides the solar industry in Victoria with a clear overview of the rules and expectations for participation in the Solar Homes Program from 1 July and the Solar for Business Program from 1 May.  

The requirements for participants, systems and products outlined in the Notice to Market will help ensure the ongoing improvement of the solar industry. They focus on worker and customer safety, fit for purpose and future-proofed product installations and ensuring all Victorians benefit from clean and affordable solar energy. 

Solar Victoria Notice to Market 2021–22  

Replacing all previous versions, this Notice to Market comes into effect on 1 July 2021 for the Solar Homes Program and 1 May 2021 for the Solar for Business Program

Participation in the Solar Homes and Solar for Business Programs is governed by the requirements set out in this Notice to Market, as well as Solar Victoria’s terms and conditions such as those for retailers and for installers.

Participants must comply with the requirements in this notice for rebates to apply to solar PV, solar battery and solar hot water systems.

Key changes to requirements

Most mandatory and recommended requirements remain the same for retailers and installers.  

We consulted with key stakeholders on the Notice to Market 2021–22 and carefully considered feedback in designing the changes to program eligibility requirements and establishing the start date for each new requirement.   

Direct interviews with chosen representatives from key peak bodies and relevant government agencies were invaluable in designing requirements. We are confident they will help ensure safety and continue to achieve quality standards within the solar industry. 

Key changes within the Solar Victoria Notice to Market 2021–22 include:     

  • Mandatory from 1 July 2021.

    • Wall-mounted DC isolators and their installation must meet special requirements that are above regulations/standards and otherwise common industry practice.
    • In extreme cases, incorrectly installed DC isolators or those damaged over time can pose a fire hazard and risk. Incorrect installation of DC isolators has also been one of the top defects independent auditors in the Solar Homes Program have detected.
    • Safety is our first priority. This is why we have made the recommendations outlined in Energy Safe Victoria’s (ESV) industry guidance note mandatory. This guidance recommends additional installation requirements beyond the minimum listed in AS/NZS 5033:2014.
    • It means that where a wall-mounted DC isolator isn’t built in the inverter, it will need to be installed on a non-combustible surface or barrier.
    • This requirement will improve safety outcomes for customers , as a control to manage the potential fire risk associated with wall-mounted DC isolators. DC isolators built into inverters pose a reduced safety risk compared with external isolators.
    • ESV’s industry guidance note was developed in close collaboration with Solar Victoria and the requirement in this Notice to Market aligns with draft updates to the PV installation standard (DR AS/NZS 5033:2021), which is currently out for public comment. It is supported by ESV, the Smart Energy Council and the Clean Energy Council.
    • See the PV DC isolator guidance note on the ESV website.
  • Mandatory from 1 July 2021.

    • Inverters must have internet capability and an on-board communication port that can be used for connection to another device. A virtual or wireless automatic programming interface (API) equivalent can be used as an alternative to a physical on-board communications port.
    • These requirements are a first step towards dynamic connections and active distributed energy resources (DER) management, which will help create extra flexibility and maintain stability in the electricity grid.
    • Approximately 99 per cent of solar PV inverters installed in the Solar Homes Program since 1 July 2019 satisfy these requirements.
  • Mandatory from 1 September 2021.

    • Inverters must also be verified to comply with the Australian Energy Market Operator’s ‘Low Voltage Ride Through’ test procedure. South Australia has the same requirement for small-scale inverter connections.
    • This requirement improves electricity grid system security by ensuring inverters do not unnecessarily disconnect from the grid during minor or low voltage disturbances.
    • The commencement date of 1 September 2021 will help retailers and installers prepare and clear existing stock.
  • Mandatory from 18 December 2021.

    • Inverters must comply with the updated product standard AS/NZS 4777.2:2020: Grid connection of energy systems via inverters, Part 2: Inverter requirements
    • The latest product standard improves grid integration through refined inverter connection and disconnection thresholds and outlines discrete testing procedures.
    • Adoption of the new standard increases solar grid hosting capacity by prescribing default (pre-set) grid support mode features, such as volt/watt, volt/var and freq/watt, aimed at addressing non-compliance within the industry. It also improves consumer safety by including increased product requirements for in-built DC isolators.
    • The commencement date of no earlier than 18 December 2021 will help ease supply chain impacts and enable product development for equipment manufacturers and attaining testing certificates.
    • The approved PV inverter list will be updated as requirements come into effect and published at Solar Victoria's Approved Products List.
  • Mandatory from 1 January 2022.

    • We have introduced additional ‘mini-training’ requirements as part of our commitment to safety and quality.
    • Completion of mini-training will be required of all participants in our programs, with some specific to installers only.
    • All mini-training modules will be industry validated and customised for the solar industry in consultation with subject matter experts. They will attract continuous professional development (CPD) points for CEC accredited participants.
    • The mini-training will provide flexibility around busy working schedules, enabling participants to complete short and targeted modules at their own pace.
    • We may introduce additional mini-training modules from time to time and will always provide reasonable notice of the requirement to complete these.
  • Homeowner eligibility requirement removed from 1 July 2021.

    • Solar hot water installations will no longer be required to be gas-boosted where homes have a gas connection but don’t have a PV system larger than 2.5 kilowatts.
    • This change will enable customers to install a system of their choice from Solar Victoria’s Solar Hot Water Approved Products List .
    • It gives customers greater flexibility in deciding which hot water technology they install.
  • Recommended requirement.

    • Accredited solar and battery installers in Solar Victoria’s programs already meet this requirement because it is a prerequisite for CEC Accredited Installers to have Working Safely at Heights certification (either CPCCCM2020B or RIIWHS204X) . Working Safely at Heights is also included in plumbing apprenticeships.
    • No additional training will be required for participating installers who have already completed accredited Working Safely at Heights training.
    • This new requirement is strongly recommended for all other solar on-site workers. Completing this training will contribute to improved safety outcomes for electrical apprentices and trade assistants in particular.

  • From 1 May 2021 .

    • The Notice to Market 2021–22 includes the new small business rebate stream requirements.
    • The Solar for Business Program enables eligible businesses to apply for a small business rebate of up to $3,500 until the first 5,000 business rebates are allocated, and up to $1,750 thereafter.
    • Rebates cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of a rooftop solar system up to 30 kW, reducing the upfront cost of installing solar on business premises.
    • For more information about the program , see Solar for Business

Other changes are the inclusion of participants undertaking business mentoring and support sessions as a recommended requirement, and an update to PV inverter communications protocol to promote system interoperability and generation flexibility ‘behind the meter.’

Rebate release dates and quantities

The Victorian Government has confirmed the number and value of Solar Homes Program rebates for the 2021–22 financial year, with a minimum of 5,400 solar PV rebates released each month. 

Solar Victoria will work closely with stakeholders to communicate the availability of rebates and closely monitor their demand. In the 2021–22 financial year, rebates will be released monthly. This will be monitored closely and adjusted to ensure smooth and timely supply to effectively support industry. 

Any rebates uncommitted in 2020–21 will be carried over into 2021–22. 

Rebate type

Rebate quantity 2021–22

Solar PV systems for owner-occupiers and community housing

72,000   

Solar for renters

3,000

Solar batteries (household and aggregation opportunities)

7,000   

Solar hot water

6,000

Rebates release date are published at Solar Homes Program key dates . 

Rebate values

The Notice to Market 2021–22 commits us to delivering solar panel rebates for owner-occupiers and rental properties at their current value of $1,850 until 30 June 2021, before reducing to $1,400.  

While demand for solar is difficult to predict, we expect that rebates in other rebate streams will not be fully allocated by 30 June 2021. To benefit customers, we will make a number of rebate streams available at their current values until fully committed.  

This means we will continue to offer:  

  • Solar for Business rebates at the current value of $3,500 until the first 5,000 rebates have been fully allocated. They will then reduce to $1,750. 
  • Solar battery rebates at the current value of $4,174 until all rebates available in 2020–21 have been fully allocated. They will then reduce to $3,500.   
  • Solar hot water rebates at the current value of $1,000 (depending on the cost of the system) throughout 2021–22.  

This approach will ensure that the maximum number of customers will be able to access the higher rebate value for each stream. Remaining rebate numbers can be found on our website. 

Solar retailers will be required to update their customer quotes in the Solar Victoria portal when the rebate values step down, and we will inform householders and retailers prior to rebate values being reduced.  

The following tables set out the rebate values that will come into effect in financial year 2021–22. The rebate price listed is the maximum rebate that will be paid to a rebate applicant.  

Solar Homes rebate type

Rebate value ($) 202021

Rebate value ($) 202122

Solar PV

1,850

1,400 from 1 July 2021

Solar for rentals  1,850 1,400 from 1 July 2021

Solar hot water

1,000

1,000

Solar batteries  4,174 3,500 once all 20–21 rebates have been allocated  

Solar for Business rebate type

Rebate value ($) for the first 5,000 rebates 

Solar for Business

Up to 3,500 until the first 5,000 business rebates are allocated and up to 1,750 thereafter.

Reviewed 09 July 2021