Urgent action is required in the Australian state of Victoria’s Victorian Solar Homes programme, or large numbers of small business in the state are likely to go bankrupt in the months to come, according to the country’s Clean Energy Council.
The state’s August allocation ran out in a record 106 minutes, leaving small solar businesses in the lurch, with some already considering closing their doors.
Darren Gladman, Director of Distributed Energy at the Clean Energy Council Director said the programme threatens the survival of small solar businesses.
“Solar Homes has created a devastating boom-bust which is hitting many small solar businesses hard,” Mr Gladman said. “Because the majority of Victorians are able to access the program, people are holding off installing solar altogether until they can claim the rebates. It means the state’s solar industry is being turned on and off like a tap – and for the whole of August the tap was only on for a couple of hours. Government programmes should not be like trying to buy concert tickets, where access depends on whether you can get through in the few hours that it is open”.
Gladman added that whilst the intention of the programme is well-placed, the way its rollout if being executed is creating a worst-case scenario for the state’s solar ambitions – the opposite of what is intended.
“Along with the industry’s woes, it appears that some consumers were unable to access the system this morning, aggravating those who were trying to take advantage of the programme” Gladman said. “The industry has put forward a range of options to improve Solar Homes, but the first step to fixing it is a recognition that there is a problem. We are calling on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to urgently intervene and lead a review to revisit the criteria for the program”.