$6,000 Solar Battery Storage Subsidies Up For Grabs In SA

South Australian households will be able to access generous subsidies for the installation of home battery systems from next month, and loans will also be made available for solar panels plus storage.

As we mentioned last week, $100 million dollars was committed for South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme in the Marshall Government’s State Budget 2018-19.

The Home Battery Scheme aims to support 40,000 households across the state in installing energy storage. While the subsidies apply to battery systems only, finance via the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will also be made available for the purchase of new or upgraded solar power systems as well as the unsubsidised energy storage component.

“The Scheme will directly reduce electricity costs for the 40,000 households that purchase a home battery system,” states the Department of Energy and Mining web site. ” In addition, the installation of these systems will reduce demand on the network (especially at peak periods) and in turn lower prices for all South Australians.”

How Much Is The Battery Subsidy?

The subsidy will vary depending on battery capacity and is capped at a maximum of $6,000 per system installed. Energy concession holders will receive a rate of $600 per kilowatt-hour capacity, while all other households will receive $500 per kilowatt-hour.

It’s expected the subsidy will decrease over time as the cost of solar battery storage continues to drop.

Details regarding the loan aspect will be announced in October. Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CEFC last week to deliver a $100m CEFC funding package for the loans.

“The CEFC has supported investment in home and commercial solar PV and battery storage systems as a way to reduce energy-related emissions,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth. “We are pleased that this new arrangement with the SA Government, once finalised, will allow South Australians to access tailored finance for their home energy storage systems.”

How Do You Get The Subsidy?

In October, a web site will be launched to assist homeowners in accessing the subsidy and applying for finance if that is required.

UPDATE October 30: The Home Battery Scheme is now open for applications – but those considering jumping in early should read this first.

Home Battery Scheme Subsidy Eligibility

  • All households will be eligible for the subsidy, including renters who have permission from the homeowner to install a solar battery.
  • Battery systems will be required to be virtual power plant (VPP)1 ready. However, participation in a VPP program won’t be mandatory.
  • Off-grid storage systems are not eligible.
  • Batteries must have a minimum storage capacity of 2.5kWh, but there’s no upper limit on capacity.
  • Storage systems must have a minimum 5-year warranty that also covers workmanship.
  • The battery itself will be required to have a warranty of 7 years minimum based on daily cycling.
  • To supply and install systems, providers will be required to qualify as a System Provider and must be CEC Approved Solar Retailers.
  • Providers will need to gain approval for energy storage systems to be installed under the Scheme.
  • Systems must use CEC approved inverters and be designed/installed by a CEC-accredited professional with a battery endorsement.
  • The subsidy won’t be limited to a single property in the case of South Australians with multiple properties.

South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme is separate to Tesla’s virtual power plant and other VPP programs under way in the state.

An Initial Focus On Local

Priority is be given to System Providers committing to installing approved solar battery systems manufactured or assembled in South Australia. These providers will be granted a nine-week priority period when the subsidy scheme launches next month.

The number of home battery systems manufactured or assembled in South Australia is currently zero (UPDATE: It seems Zen Energy may manufacture in SA). However, German battery manufacturer sonnen told RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson yesterday it still intends manufacturing up to 10,000 batteries a year at the old Holden automotive manufacturing site at Elizabeth in the northern suburbs of Adelaide. Sonnen’s facility is expected to be up and running within two months.

UPDATE: SQ’s Ronald has published a follow-up with his thoughts on the battery subsidy/rebate.

Footnotes

  1. A virtual power plant is a network of individual solar + storage systems managed centrally to support the mains grid
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. shane crossland says

    just wondering if the new solar storage batteries would be able to hook into J tariff, in winter my solar would not fill a battery to get me thought the night. this topping up of batteries over night would definitely take the strain off net in the morning start up of houses across the state.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      I’m afraid it’s not permitted to use controlled loads to charge a battery unless it is hardwired to a device on a controlled load and cannot be used to provide power to anything except that device.

      • shane crossland says

        Surely the government has the power to change this.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Yes… But I don’t think it’s on their radar. The way South Australia’s controlled loads operate are quite primitive compared to Queensland’s approach of actively using them to moderate demand.

      • Actually, SA Power Networks can allow Off Peak Controlled Load for charging a household battery. You’d have to check with them regarding the fine print. See their 2018 Tariff Information pdf.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          I’ve had a quick look through that document and I can’t see anything that says a battery can’t be connected to a control load and other appliances. But I doubt they now allow it because someone with a lithium iron phosphate battery could get 99% or potentially all of their grid electricity use from a controlled load which can cost half as much as the standard tariff on some plans. This is something I should probably look into.

  2. In my role – teaching utilities literacy – I have heard directly from SAPN staff that they now allow use of OPCL for charging car and household batteries. OPCL is available 11 pm to 7 am, and they also allow “solar sponge” access to OPCL between 10 am and 3 pm. They do state that only one qualifying appliance can be used at a time, but it does seem that a well-designed system could use a lot of cheaper electricity. I don’t know the specifics of any conditions – I’d encourage anyone in SA who is interested to contact SAPN for a chat. They now have a dedicated Energy Advisory staff member who may be helpful.

  3. just another thing i have being wondering about solar panels. since SA has reduced the size of systems you can have on a single phase, is it possible to get solar batteries which have solar panels that only charge the battery? Then make it so the battery only releases when house power is not met?(why i ask this is my panels face west so my system doesn’t meet morning demand and i have lot of roof space facing east)

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Hi Shane

      What you’ve described is possible if you don’t go over the permitted inverter capacity. For a single phase home this will be 5 kilowatts without export limiting or 10 kilowatts with. So you could have a 10 kilowatt solar inverter with up to 13.33 kilowatts of panels if the system is export limited so it never sends more than 5 kilowatts of power into the grid. Or you could have a 5 kilowatt inverter and an AC coupled battery with a 5 kilowatt battery inverter. All AC coupled batteries are (or should be) able to export limit.

      If you have a 5 kilowatt inverter now you could add a 5 kilowatt AC coupled battery without going over the limit. But even with the upcoming SA battery subsidy the most cost effective option is likely to be for you to install a second, export limited, east facing solar system which will provide you with solar power in the morning and surplus solar energy to export for a feed-in tariff.

      • HI Roland, I’m rather confused about the export limit and what options I have if any regarding getting a battery in SA. I currently have a 8kW SolarEdge inverter and 10kW or so of panels being export limited to 5kW on single phase. Cost effectiveness aside I would really like to get a 10kW or greater battery and have the ability to have backup power, if the grid was down use the battery\solar I’m generating and of course use the power in the evenings I store. The 8kW SolarEdge inverter doesn’t support the LG DC coupled batteries unfortunately so I’m unsure if there are any options available to me currently? Thanks

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Hi Matt

          You could get a StorEdge which will allow your inverter to use a higher voltage LG Chem RESU10 HV. But I don’t think this will give you back up capability. You could also get an AC coupled battery that can supply backup power. These will automatically export limit, so you won’t have a problem there. The Powerwall 2 will give you the storage you want and full backup capability including the ability to charge the Powerwall from the solar system during a blackout. It has gone up in price, but that may mean it will be available. There is Sonnen which can have the sonnenProtect installed that will allow up to 2.5 kilowatts of power to be used during a blackout but won’t allow the battery to charge from rooftop solar.

          Note that home batteries aren’t that great for backup power. It is quite possible your battery will be flat or almost flat when a blackout occurs. For this reason and for potential cost effectiveness, you may be better off getting a small generator for backup purposes. If your only interest is backup power then a generator is much cheaper.

  4. Amanda Constable says

    How Do You Get The Subsidy?

    In October, a web site will be launched to assist homeowners in accessing the subsidy and applying for finance if that is required.

    ***Do we know the site yet?

  5. shane crossland says

    so just got my first quote for a solar battery in SA. what a surprise the prices have gone up in cost(nearly the same as rebate). solar panels all over again!

  6. So why aren’t off grid systems included in this rebate? My wife and I have recently renovated a houseboat to live on, we installed a 5kw off grid system at the massive price of just over $10000 and that’s before installation. Even a average house using the same size system would have been 1/2 that price. Is it symply because we went feeding back to the grid? Or because of some other stupid reason?

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