SA Home Battery Scheme Grant Update

SA Home Battery Scheme

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan has revealed some numbers on uptake of the state’s home solar battery grants scheme.

SA’s Home Battery Scheme offers subsidies of up to $6,000, with the level determined based on storage capacity. A $600 per kilowatt hour subsidy is available to SA concession holders and $500 per kilowatt hour for others – further details here. More recently, finance has also been made available to cover the balance of the cost of a solar battery as well as a new/upgraded solar power system if required.

Launched in October last year, the Home Battery Scheme will support 40,000 installations. According to Minister van Holst Pellekaan, 101 home batteries have been installed to date, with more than 500 installations in the pipeline.

“It can take a few months from committing to a battery to having it installed, so we will see strong growth in installation over coming months,” said the Minister. “Ultimately this scheme will benefit all South Australians, as more home batteries reduce total demand on the network we can look forward to lower prices for all households.”

The lower electricity prices Minister van Holst Pellekaan says South Australians can look forward to will be coming at a cost of $100 million1 – the amount the Government says it will be handing out for the grants.

The Minister also stated the scheme had secured around 900 jobs and three companies have committed to manufacturing/assembling systems in South Australia (Sonnen, Eguana Technologies and Alpha-ESS).

On a related note, another reason for the reasonably slow uptake to this point was initially only batteries from brands committing to local manufacture/assembly were eligible. With only a limited choice available, SQ founder Finn Peacock said back in October early birds could miss out on big savings. Finn suggested prospective solar battery buyers wait until the 9-week priority period finished, as there would not only be a bigger range to choose from after this time, but also cheaper batteries.

Home Battery Scheme Participating Brands (So Far)

More choice and some cheaper batteries appeared early in the new year, with the list of three brands prior to December 31 growing to eight at the time of publishing:

Not all models each company manufactures may be eligible for the subsidy. Among the requirements to be accepted into the scheme, solar batteries must be Virtual Power Plant (VPP) capable. Details of some of the eligible systems can be found on SQ’s solar battery comparison table (eligible solar batteries have the scheme logo accompanying their listing). Additionally, energy storage systems must be installed by an approved system provider.

Also important to note is that it is still possible to lose money buying home batteries, even with the subsidy – and the risk increases if finance is involved.

Footnotes

  1. 40,000 x $6,000 = $240 million. But not everyone will have systems qualifying for the maximum amount and the level of subsidy is expected to drop at some point – when and by how much, we don’t know. But don’t panic – bear in mind the cost of solar batteries should continue to decrease
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. Grant Steinberg says

    On asking why I hadn’t had follow up contact on my registration for the home battery scheme, I received a call from one of the companies involved stating that the reason there was no follow up was because there was almost zero availability of batteries to fulfil early demand… expecting them to come on line later in February, so who knows???

    • We have them in stock now. Sonnen and Eguana. In our opinion Eguana is the pick of the bunch and Enphase for smaller systems. The integrated standard backup and the ability for them to deliver 5kW continuous and recharge even though the grid may be down are two outstanding reasons underlying our opinion.

  2. Because the ” SQ’s solar battery comparison table” is problematic and its content is not universally accessible, could it please be published as a downloadable PDF file, to make its content universally accessible?

  3. Brian Knight says

    We have a 6.4kW-hour solar system. Currently, with Energy Australia, we only get 15c/kW hour for unused power sent to the grid. There is also a supply charge of $0.92/day which just about wipes out the benefits of the surplus power we generate. The prima facie case for a subsidised 5 or 10 kW-hour battery is reasonably strong, but if electricity retailers decide to significantly increase their daily supply charge, it could wipe out the benefits. What is in place, if anything, to stop that from happening?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Brian

      All electricity price rises are carefully reviewed to make sure they reflect consumer interests. Which is odd, because supply charges always end up being set around a profit maximizing level that discourages energy efficiency.

      Looking at the example of Western Australia where they simply doubled the supply charge and screwed other lower income Australians while leaving billionaires almost untouched seems to indicate there is little protection against ramping up supply charges:

      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/wa-doubles-supply-charges/

      But in practice what occurs is constrained by voter outrage and by the ability of people to potentially go off-grid. Either because they have invested a huge amount in batteries or because they can’t afford to pay their electricity bills.

  4. Finn – I have previously tried the spreadsheet generation link – it just froze the computer.

    Also, that “Export to excel” button is otherwise problematic.

    Even if a spreadfsheet was able to be seen, it would be subject to the formatting by the creator, whereas a PDF file is universally viewable, and, looks the same to everyone, who has a PDF file viewer.

    Why can it not simply be (also) published as a PDF file for downloading?

  5. Kenneth Gonsalves says

    Is the battery subsidy only for SA or for WA too?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I’m afraid it’s only for SA. Labor says if they win the Federal election they introduce a $2,000 national subsidy at the start of 2020.

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