MORE households will qualify for up to $7500 to install solar panels under changes to a Federal Government rebate.

The Government announced it would scrap an unpopular means test, which restricted the rebate to households earning less than $100,000.

The means-tested rebate was worth up to $8000.

Under the new system, to come into force in July next year, the rebate will be smaller but everyone – households, businesses and community groups – can access it, regardless of income.

The maximum rebate, for an average-sized 1.5 kilowatt system, will be about $7500. A smaller-sized 1.0 kilowatt system will attract a rebate of about $5000.

The value of the rebate will fluctuate and it will decline from 2012.

The Government came under attack from environmentalists, some solar industry chiefs and the Federal Opposition for introducing the means test in this year’s budget. It was seen as discouraging some people from going green, and a step backwards for the solar industry.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett, in announcing the changes, said people loved solar power.
“Australians want to do their bit to take action on climate change,” he said.

“This (new system) will provide more Australian households with the opportunity to go solar, and the industry with a strong footing for long-term growth.”

The current system will stay in place until July, when the new system will take over.