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Man Signs Form Incorrectly, Loses $8,000 Solar Grant

A retiree in South Australia is feeling a bit miffed at his government right now. Don Purvis and several of his neighbors in the Woodside Lodge Retirement Village applied for a solar grant under Australia’s Solar Homes Program. Eight of those neighbors qualified for the $8,000 solar panel grant. Don Purvis did not.

Purvis signed his application form in the slot reserved for the solar installer. That two-word mistake turned out to be an $8,000 mistake. According to the 72-year-old, he filled the application out in a hurry when the Australian government announced they were ending the Solar Homes incentive program 18 months early. When he learned the reasons for his denial, Purvis wrote to government officials with an apology and an appeal for reconsideration. He was denied a second time. He is now resigned to frustration with what he calls “some deadheaded public servant.”

Technically, Purvis filled out his grant application incorrectly and the government, by law, has every right to deny his application. The human side of the story, however, has neighbors, his local member of Parliament (MP) and many others in his community speaking out in sympathy for Purvis.

Purvis’ MP, Jamie Briggs, is most definitively on the side of his constituent: “Common sense would say this is a stupid thing for the government to do,” he said to the Adelaide Advertiser. Briggs has written to the Australian Environment Minister in hopes that he will intervene on Purvis’ behalf. As of yet, he has received no reply and Don Purvis’ future in solar power remains uncertain.

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