Local businesses question solar panel rebate allocations
25 July 2019
Small solar businesses in Ovens Valley have been left scratching their heads after receiving either a paltry or zero number of Labor’s 3,333 solar panel rebates for July.
Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said the solar panel rebate process was continuing to cause headaches for local businesses with major flow on effects for current and potential customers.
“The Clean Energy Council recently advised the top five participating companies were allocated 13% of the rebates, with 87% being distributed to “smaller” solar companies,” he said.
“Local businesses are asking who these businesses are, in particular the top five companies, and what the allocation process entailed.”
Mr McCurdy said one local business has gone from two to three installs a week to zero after the close of the initial rebate in April. Another had submitted 27 quotes into the system but only received three rebates in July after customers “failed” the overzealous customer approval process.
“After all the rebates were allocated on 3 July, interested customers planning to install solar panels have shelved the work until rebate applications open again on 1 August 2019,” he said.
“Owners continue to be faced with stress of working out how to meet customer expectations, as well as paying suppliers, employees and subcontractors”.
“We all want the community to save on their electricity bills but this scheme, in its current form, is hurting the industry.”
Mr McCurdy said that given the questions being asked by local business, he recently lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) request through the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.
“I have asked for details of the solar panel rebate allocation and what process was used to allocate the rebates,” he said.
“This information could take up to 30 days to come through.
“I would hope that given the growing interest in this issue, the request will be completed sooner rather than later.”
Mr McCurdy also said suspicion within the solar industry was mounting around solar panel rebates being allocated to the big companies, with the intention to push the smaller players out.
“This begs the next question – why hasn’t the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) come out in support of the solar industry given the backlash about the scheme?” Mr McCurdy said.
“The ETU has been very quiet. One has to wonder why.”