Another Push For “National” Home Battery Subsidy In Australia

Australia: National Home Battery Saver.

Does a solar battery subsidy of up to a few thousand dollars sound good to you? That’s what could be available if a Clean Energy Council recommendation is heeded by the Federal Government.

A new roadmap from the Clean Energy Council states that by providing more support for solar panels, home batteries and electrification, all Australians will benefit – whether they have the tech installed or not.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO’s) Step Change scenario contained in its draft 2024 Integrated System Plan (ISP) would fulfil Australia’s emission reduction commitments1. The CEC says the least cost pathway to this lies in consumer energy resources (CER), and much needs to be done. Based on modelling at the time, rooftop solar would need to quadruple, 34 times more distributed battery capacity would be needed and 135 times more orchestrated battery capacity (e.g. VPPs) is required by 2050.

The CEC’s roadmap contains modelling outlining the huge value of CER and key policies it says are needed to better support it and to reach emissions goals.

National Home Battery Saver

One of the major recommendations relates to home batteries; a federal subsidy for which was floated by the CEC a couple of months ago.

More than 3.8 million small scale solar systems (<100kW capacity) have been installed in Australia to date, with a combined output capacity of more than 23 gigawatts. At times, so much solar energy is exported into the grid that it can push daytime wholesale electricity prices into negative territory and cause network operators grid management headaches.

To smooth out the spike, some of the self-generated energy should be stored in batteries for use by a household or the grid; particularly during evening peak demand periods.

More than 250,000 home batteries totaling 2.77 gigawatt-hours of storage capacity had been installed in Australia by the end of last year. Battery uptake is building, but the proportion of solar systems accompanied by energy storage is still pretty low. This is largely due to a solar battery being out of reach for many households given current pricing.

The CEC says creating a National Home Battery Saver scheme to install and integrate behind-the-meter battery storage should be considered by the Federal Government to maximise the benefits of electrification, which would far exceed its overall cost.

How Much Battery Subsidy Is Being Recommended?

Modelling taking wholesale market benefits of CER differences from state to state into account suggests an incentive of $1,250 in New South Wales (assumed to include ACT) and Victoria, $1,500 in Queensland and $3,000 in South Australia2. Added to that would be a $1,000 incentive in all those states for signing up for an orchestrated battery program, such as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

But the CEC announcement regarding the Roadmap mentions “up to $6500 per household” to install and integrate batteries. I’m not sure if I’ve missed it, but I couldn’t find any figures adding up to that in the Roadmap. But February’s Home Battery Saver industry briefing from the CEC indicates different levels – $2,250 in NSW and ACT, $2,500 in VIC, $3,000 in QLD and $5,500 in SA; plus the $1,000 “orchestration” incentive.

The Roadmap has recommended introducing the incentive by 2025, with it available out to 2040.

So, should you put off getting a battery if you’ve already identified it will bring the benefits you need or desire? The very important point to bear in mind is the CEC’s recommendation is just that. This is not a done deal, not even close. This is a wish list item and the chances of this rebate happening is anyone’s guess.

It’s Not Just About Solar Batteries

The Roadmap recommends other policies and programs that should be considered by the Federal Government, among them:

  • A $100 million Empowering Communities Fund that oversees delivery of education and training programs on electrification and energy efficiency.
  • Providing opportunities for renters and social housing residents to participate in consumer energy resources.
  • Implementing a review into household and business energy futures and pathways towards electrification.
  • Measures to raise awareness of related consumer protections.

“Empowering homeowners, renters, social housing residents and business owners to understand and adopt CER will build an Australian energy system that is cleaner, cheaper and fairer for everyone,” said the Clean Energy Council’s Con Hristodoulidis

The full report: “Powering Homes, Empowering People: A National Consumer Energy Resources Roadmap” can be downloaded here.

Footnotes

  1. Currently under threat from the Coalition, but that’s another story.
  2. Even though the concept is called “National”, suggested incentive levels for other states were not listed – just those part of the National Electricity Market (NEM).
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Richard Staples says

    Does the CEC support battery subsidies for off-grid households? I’ve been off-grid for 35 years, have never received a cent of subsidy (apart from a general power payment during covid), & every battery subsidy scheme requires Grid connection. I only have low voltage in my house, do all my own installation & maintenance & don’t fancy a scheme that requires someone else to install (at a high price). There is a danger that any subsidy will simply be eaten up by installation costs & price hikes by the battery supplier. If people like me could receive help that danger could be minimised.

  2. Peter Ryan says

    Sounds great! But I just dropped $12k on a home battery along with 250,000 others, so do we get anything back?

  3. I can’t understand why electrical wholesalers and retailers aren’t installing batteries themselves to capture excess energy and thus solve the grid ovreload problem? Why is the responsibility for the problem put on the householder and we are expected to install batteries?

    Sandra

  4. I’ve got solar which is great and I’m super happy but I’ve run the numbers on a battery and I can’t get it to pay itself off over a 10 year period so why bother for such a capital intensive purchase.

    Why should normal citizens have to brunt the cost of the governments poor decisions of pushing solar and not having anywhere to store it?

    Make batteries affordable and worth the money and people will buy them. This is a win win for everyone as normal citizens are essentially co investing with the government to upgrade the grid and solve the energy crisis and in return those who co-invest are getting cheaper electricity.

    I think I’ve worked out in my situation it would have to cost 4-5 grand for 6-10 kw of storage for me to even consider it.

    • Finn Peacock says

      Chris, if you have time, I’d be interested how our new ‘add a battery calculator‘ results compare to your numbers…

      • I’ve been trying to use the Battery calculator but it keeps throwing an error – Error: An Internal Error Has Occurred.
        I’m on OVO EV plan so I tried to input the time of use rates for the Ovo plan .
        I tried using both the detailed as well as summary data I received from Endeavour energy (NSW 2565) in CSV file format but nothing seems to work.
        I have a 6Kw system and I’m looking to see if it makes sense to add more panels and battery to my system.

        • Finn Peacock says

          Hi Andy,

          Apologies! I’ve asked our IT team to email you directly to see what’s happening (and to improve that error message!)

  5. Its not out of reach if it makes financial sense. It doesnt. The savings you make are less than the cost of the battery. If you want to virtue signal or protect yourself against blackouts, that on you, not the taxpayer.

    • Finn Peacock says

      John – why not try our battery calculator out, and let me know if the results agree with your calculations?

      • George Kaplan says

        Looks to be a potentially interesting tool. Now to see if it’s possible to get a NEM12 .csv file!

        It’s not something the DNSP offer as a standard option to request so getting the data required for the calculator may prove … tricky!!! Since they say they’ll get back in a week, it’s not going to be a fast process.

        Sadly the retailer data is available in .csv format but not “the industry prescribed format” which I’m speculating means .csv but not NEM12, or at least it doesn’t work for the calculator.

      • George Kaplan says

        Tested the calculator out now that I have access to a NEM12 .csv file.

        Using the Generic 10 kWh option I get a payback period of 17 years.

        Using the specific system I was quoted for I also get a payback period of 17 years, but first year savings drop by $5 – the bill rising the same.

        Checking the details further down and there’s a difference of 1 month in payback time – the results up the top don’t list the month component.

        The 20 year savings figure does cover the cost of the battery, barely, but by that time the bank interest lost by purchasing the battery exceeds the cost of the battery. And would a battery even be working after 20 years? The warranty only covers 60%-70% for 10 years after all!

        Looks like grid power is the better option, at least until power prices rise substantially, or battery prices fall radically. As for offgrid calculations, that’s another matter.

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