It took a tight budget for Australia to see the light on solar power.

In an abrupt move, Australia’s federal government announced that it was withdrawing discounts on solar power systems to households.

The rebate plan, which provided discounts on solar power systems, received unprecedented popularity and generated more than 30,000 applications last month. The government, which had allocated $123.3 million for plan, decided to annul it three weeks before the closing date, as the costs escalated to about $616.5 million.

The Ministry of Environment had allocated an additional budget of $178 million last month, but the funding was utilized to fulfill orders for applications last month. The sudden announcement gave solar power retailers only eight hours to process applications.

The industry was in a flurry of activity, with many retailers extending working hours to accommodate last-minute applicants. The scheme became so popular that retailers were not able to keep pace with demand. About 63,000 households that have already applied will benefit from the old plan.

Despite its enormous potential, solar power is still far too expensive to roll out on a massive scale. Its day may yet come, but providing huge subsidies to encourage it does not signify public enthusiasm for the technology. Rather, Australians were simply responding to an opportunity to make a buck at public expense.