Queensland kick-starts battery grant and loan scheme

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The sunshine state of Queensland, with half a million households now generating power from rooftop solar, is now looking to boost its energy storage fleet and drive the next renewable wave.

The state government has announced the grants and loans scheme that will help up to 1500 Queensland households and small businesses cut their power bills by storing solar power and using it after sunset.

“With our policies, interest-free loans and grants incentives we are looking to add another 1500 to the 2500 battery storage systems in place around the state,” said Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham.

“Just as we have one of the highest penetrations of rooftop solar in the world, we are aspiring to be a world leader in battery storage.”

Under the scheme, Queensland homes and small businesses will be able to to choose between two types of packages: grants of $3000 and interest-free loans of up to $10,000 over 10 years for up to 10,000 combined solar and battery storage system, as well as grants of $3000 and interest-free loans of up to $6,000 for 500 batteries. 

“A high energy-using household that contributes $2000 to $3000 towards the upfront cost of their solar and battery system may save $400 a year, even after taking into account their interest-free loan repayments,“ he said.

In case of eligible households, at least one person applying must be the owner or joint owner of the home, and not have an existing solar array installed at the premises. Small businesses are able apply only for a grant, provided they consume not more than 100 MWh a year and employ fewer than 20 full-time employees.

Minister Lynham also noted that Labor’s policy mix had already been a catalyst for an estimated $2 billion worth of private investment in solar from households and small business, as the state moves towards its target of 3 GW of rooftop solar by 2020.            

The announcement closely follows similar programs recently launched in South Australia, offering subsidies of up to $6,000 for 40,000 SA households, and another one pledged by the Victorian Labor government, with subsidies of up to $4,838 for the installation of battery storage in 10,000 homes.

The Queensland grants and loans scheme has a strong focus on safety, allowing applicants to select only from a panel of approved suppliers.

The government has launched a dedicated website for online applications, and released a list of eligible battery systems, comprising Alpha ESS, Evergen Equinox, LG Chem Resu, Redback Technologies Smart Hybrid, SolaX Triple Power, Sonner Batterie eco and Tesla Powerwall 2.