Victoria residential solar market in “contraction,” data shows

Claims that the Victorian government’s rooftop solar rebate has put a cap on residential installations are being borne out, with new data showing the state clearly bucking the national trend, with its market in contraction despite – or, indeed, because of – the policy incentive.

A report from Green Energy Markets based on the latest figures from the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) show that Australia’s roof-top solar PV market, as a whole, continues to grow through 2019, putting it track to achieve installed capacity of more than 2GW this year.

And while all states experienced a growth in the number of installations in July, growth in commercial installations in Victoria masked “a significant reduction” in the number of residential systems claiming STCs in July.

“The Victorian Solar Rebate program was halted in April this year which meant that the level of installations slowed from May year and the lag in creation resulted in very low levels of STCs created in June and July,” the report by GEM’s Ric Brazzale says.

“The solar industry in Victoria is currently going through a contraction period, which will continue for some time as the Victorian government has announced a cap of 42,000 rebates for the 2019/20 financial year.

“The government’s policy commitment was to support 650,000 PV systems over 10 years, and it appears that this has been considerably back ended.”

The findings – and the chart above – support industry claims that business in the state has come to a virtual stand-still, leaving many companies in financial dire straits, with some being forced to cut jobs, or even close their doors.

The Smart Energy Council is currently preparing to lead a second public protest against the rebate, this time targeting the office of the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Protesters will call on the Labor government to abolish the red tape involved in applying for the solar rebate – in this case, an overly complex and glitchy online application process – and to at least halve the dollar amount of the rebate, and then double the number available.

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