The Victorian Greens have called on the Government to show leadership on renewable energy by making drastic improvements to its Solar Rebate Scheme.
Initial funding to support the scheme dried up earlier this year, leaving a number of rooftop solar retailers and installers with significant debt and no choice but to lay off staff. Customers who would previously have bought solar on their own, held off, waiting for the rebate to begin again in July.
However, the Government's decision to cap the number of rebates available per month at 3,333 has only worsened problems for businesses. The inadequate number of rebates were snapped up 90 minutes this month, leaving retailers and installers on the brink of collapse.
Member for Brunswick, Dr Tim Read, has called on the Government to urgently reduce the value of its rebates and increase their quantity to ensure they aren’t bottlenecked at the beginning of each month.
Dr Read has also asked the Government to consider lowering the income threshold required to qualify for the rebate, to ensure that only households most in need of the rebate are able to access it.
Quotes attributable to Member for Brunswick , Dr Tim Read:
“The Government needs to acknowledge the problems caused by its poorly thought through solar rebate scheme, and urgently make changes to ensure the scheme is a success. It’s too important to fail.
“This program is supposed to fight climate change by putting more solar on rooftops and replacing polluting coal and gas but the Government is treating it like a lottery.
“This is the Government's flagship policy from the 2018 election. The Minister must urgently allocate sufficient funding and increase the number of rebates available, instead of trickling them out to the detriment of solar customers and businesses.
“The Greens want to see solar panels on schools and public housing. But the key measure of success will be whether we see a rapid increase in solar panels and a matching fall in coal consumption.
“Solar energy is a huge piece of the puzzle in tackling our climate crisis but if the Government doesn’t do this right, it could all go up in smoke.”