Varta Added To SA Home Battery Scheme

Varta Pulse 6 - solar batteryAnother battery brand has popped up on South Australia’s Home Battery Scheme eligibility list – Germany’s Varta.

Just a quick bit of background for those who aren’t aware of the scheme. It offers subsidies of up to $6,000 on a battery system, calculated based on storage capacity. A $600 per kilowatt hour subsidy is available to South Australian concession holders and $500 per kilowatt hour for everyone else – further details here.

The subsidy only applies to eligible batteries1. Up until December 31, 2018, only solar storage systems manufactured or assembled in SA (or manufacturers that had committed to doing so) were eligible under the scheme. Initially, only selected battery models from Sonnen, Alpha-ESS and Eguana Technologies were eligible.

Given the narrow range of choices, SolarQuotes founder Finn Peacock suggested back in October that battery buyers hold off until other brands were able to join the scheme, as there would be significantly cheaper good quality energy storage deals to be had.

After the priority period ended, Tesla and LG Chem were added as options, followed by Enphase a few days ago.

On checking the list yesterday, I noted Varta had also been added.

Who Is Varta?

Varta Storage GmbH is a part of VARTA AG, a German firm that has been around for more than 130 years. I’ve seen Varta batteries used in applications ranging from small electronics to cars (starter batteries, not EVs), and through Varta Storage GmbH the company is tackling the home and large-scale energy storage market.

Varta Pulse 6

While the SA Home Battery Scheme site doesn’t state which Varta model is eligible, it’s safe to assume it’s the Varta Pulse 6; some details of which are noted on our solar battery storage comparison table. I’m assuming it’s the Varta Pulse 6 as that’s the model that has the Clean Energy Council’s tick of approval, which is a requirement of the scheme.

In a nutshell, the Varta Pulse 6 is an all-in-one unit, meaning it includes the battery, a battery management system (BMS) and an inverter.  The Varta Pulse 6 is an AC coupled system that has a nominal storage capacity of 6.5kWh and useable capacity of 5.85kWh. It offers an output of 2.5 kW. The wall-mounted battery uses a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide electrochemistry, weighs 65kg and its dimensions are 60cm x 69cm x 19cm.

Unfortunately, a price wasn’t available at the time of publishing – well, I couldn’t find one anyway.

Update January 11 – we’ve been provided a price on the Varta Pulse 6 – $9,000 (excl. installation).

As is the case with Enphase, of the 43 qualified system providers currently listed only one is offering Varta at this point. As well as battery systems needing to be eligible, solar energy storage units must be installed by one the scheme’s qualified system providers.

Footnotes

  1. There is also low-interest finance available for supporting the purchase of a solar + storage system or adding panels to a system that will have a battery added
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.

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