Where is my solar power rebate?!

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The solar power rebate got everyone excited when it was first announced back in November 2018, and an overwhelming number of people installed solar because of it.

Now, months later, many of the same people are still waiting for their rebate to come in. So what’s taking so long?

Update 1 July 2019: The rebate is now back with updated details to prevent delays, like those mentioned below, from happening again. You can read more about that in this article.

As part of an election promise, the Labor Government announced that they would provide a rebate of up to $2,225 for eligible Victorian households installing solar power on top of existing incentives.

The rebate has made now one of the best times to get solar power installed. This huge incentive has now seen many Victorian families who were on the fence before taking the leap, and are now expecting to receive their government-promised rebate.

Not an unreasonable expectation if you look at the below timeframes given by the government on the government’s official Solar Victoria website:

The Solar Victoria website describing the expected delays3-4 months is a lot longer than the 3-4 weeks claimed by Solar Victoria

Based on reports we’ve received from our own community and industry partners we work with however, the 3 to 4 weeks of processing time has proven to be highly optimistic. The reality is seeming more like 3 to 4 months. 4 times as long as expected by many.

People are getting free money, so why are they complaining

The government is providing a rebate, which means people have to pay for the solar power system first and will later receive a partial refund. A large group of the people who applied for the rebate did so assuming that they would only be waiting for the $2,225 for a short period of time. As was the expectation set by the official websites.

As we now know – that hasn’t happened, with some households having to make changes to their budgeting because of the much longer wait.

At best that’s annoying. At worst people are being greatly inconvenienced.

What’s causing this delay

Simple: capacity.

The government did not fully realise how many people would immediately see the value and take advantage of the rebate all at once, but thousands did. On 9 April 2019 the Victorian Government announced that only 2,000 rebates for 2018 – 2019 are still available.

In the meantime, people are loving the rebate, and rightfully so!

But as a result of the government underestimating this uptake, they have assigned too few people to process the applications and the backlog has grown tremendously.

Compounding the effect, it’s also clear that the government may have seriously underestimated how long it would take for systems to be installed. As you could see in the above image, the estimation used was for installations to take 2 to 3 months for a system to be completed.

While this may be an expected timeline for some smaller or less-than-reputable retailers (no local inventory, no internal installation team, no cash reserves, sale today pays for last weeks installation), a reputable retailer will almost always be able to put a system on your roof within a few weeks.

So, after the announcement in November, the government expected most applications to come through in late February and early March, but instead, applications were alreadybeing filed in December and January.

Will they catch up? We think they will, the overwhelming interest hasn’t gone unnoticed. The website mentions longer than expected waits and if you call Solar Victoria, it’s also mentioned in the automated message. Unfortunately, we don’t know when they’ll catch up so we recommend applicants assume the 3 to 4-month wait, instead of the 3 to 4-week wait.

What can I do

We’ve received positive reports from applicants calling or email Solar Victoria to check in on their application. You can do so 1300 363 744 or at enquiries@solar.vic.gov.au.

Beyond that, it’s unfortunately a matter of having patience. Applications aren’t being rejected, they are just taking significantly longer than expected.

Can I still apply for the rebate

Yes, the rebate is still available and will be joined by a solar power battery rebate up to $4,838 in July for households that already have solar power installed. You can read all about the solar power rebate here and about the solar power battery rebate here.

Note that you’re not able to combine rebates. You can only get the rebate for the solar power system or the solar power battery rebate.

Solar Power Co aims to empower and educate consumers with the right knowledge about solar power and help them to find the best product to suit their individual needs. We assess and review all installers we recommend and only work with providers who meet high standards of experience, customer satisfaction and quality.

To speak with one of our experts, give us a call on 1300 765 502 or schedule a call back here

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