The Federal Government’s May 13th introduction of the means test came as a shock to the newly formed Australian Solar industry. Our company, like most others experienced the tragic loss of many up and coming customers who were in the process of finalising their paper work for the rebate application.

For the first two weeks, the company sentiment was tending towards doom and gloom for the industry because the majority of our grid connect customers were above the $100k means test threshold. Since then however a lot has changed for SolarGen and our industry. It appears that the media coverage on the means test has had an unforseen consequence which was to inform those under the means test to the availability of a rebate as well as grid solar as a existing product available to curb electricity costs. So the buzzing activity of the Australian grid solar industry can now be attributed to our elderly and concerned working citizens who have since discovered the benefits of buying a grid solar system now which leads me onto the next critical fact, rebate quantity.

The solar rebate is only available to 6,000 household owners each year. This number resets on the first of July each year for the next two years. Extensive media coverage about looming carbon tax and carbon trading schemes is making customers choose grid solar systems sooner rather than later as a way of securing their rebate. Eventually market forces will drive up the price of electricity which will force the population to consider renewable energy systems as well as energy conservation strategies. At that point there WILL be no rebates, which are only here while cheap fossil energy prices still exist. The introduction of the Federal Government’s “Green Loans for Aussie Homes” low interest loan in 2009 will put further stress on rebate availability as green loans is for 200,000 working households meaning it could be possible to initially offset the post rebate costs. The moral of the story is simple, rebates won’t be here forever! Whilst the cost of systems will come down at some point in the future by some margin, it certainly won’t be by $8,000 which is what you’ll be missing if the rebate system changes!