As Victoria is gradually marching towards a COVID-safe summer, the solar industry has been celebrating good news as the state government announced the easing of restrictions a couple of days ago. We will walk you through exactly what the authorities have listed in their guidelines but first, let’s look back on the impact of coronavirus catastrophe on the renewable energy sector.
Solar Businesses Had a Difficult Last Couple of Months
In early August, the Victorian government declared stage 4 restrictions that inhibited the solar installations in metropolitan Melbourne. Solar installations came to a complete halt except for residential renovations in a building site or if the house was completely evacuated. The scenario was different for regional Victoria as it had stage 3 restrictions that allowed solar installations under specific conditions.
As shown in the solar report released by the Australian Energy Council for the second quarter of 2020, the Victorian solar industry had witnessed the worst downfall ever with the monthly number of rooftop solar installations dropping to less than 1,500. It was becoming increasingly difficult for solar companies to keep up with their revenues as sales fell massively. Businesses did what they could do in a virtual world such as attending to customer inquiries, providing quotes, designing the solar systems and delivering consultation sessions to customers through video conferencing platforms. However, the actual installation of the solar panels could not be performed, and this led to the loss of several jobs.
A Ray of Hope for the Solar Industry
As the famous quote goes “However long the night, the dawn will break”, this year has been dark for Victoria with people losing jobs and businesses shutting down but the sun is finally shining bright on the state as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the changes in restrictions on 18th October 2020. With his announcement, along came some positive news for the solar energy industry.
As found in the construction sector guidance, replacement and critical repairs of solar systems for safety and/or emergency reasons were permitted from 11.59 pm on 18th October in metropolitan Melbourne. Group of up to five solar installers is allowed to return to on-site work provided they carry Permitted Worker permits and they can move between not more than five sites a week and two or fewer sites in a day. If the premises are occupied by residents, solar panel installations are not permitted unless for emergency repairs.
In regional Victoria, however, solar installations are allowed in occupied premises but either a physical barrier has to be created between the workers and the residents or the occupants temporarily leave the premises while the solar installation is being carried out. Businesses are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan for onsite operations in both metropolitan and regional Victoria.
Exciting Times Ahead
The easing of restrictions meant more jobs for people as solar installation companies will require workers to deliver pending and new orders. Customers won’t have to wait any longer to have their house solar-powered.