First 100 installs under SA Home Battery Scheme completed, interest grows

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The South Australian government has released figures on the initial uptake under its landmark $100 million Home Battery Scheme, noting that the interest continues to grow.

Under the scheme, launched in late October, 40,000 South Australians can access grants of up to $6000 to help pay for a home battery system.

Commenting on the uptake thus far, amounting to 101 installed systems and 500 more in line for installation, Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said he was very pleased with the initial response to the government’s Home Battery Scheme subsidies.

“We’re seeing growing numbers of consumers take to our website to learn more about batteries, request quotes and, now, accept offers,” he said.

“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.”

The home battery subsidy is available to all South Australian households and scaled in line with the size of the system being installed.

This means that a household with a large battery providing 10kWh of storage is in line for a $5,000 or $6,000 subsidy, the latter one being reserved for concession holders – such as pensioners and low-income homes.

The $100 million in state government subsidies has been matched by up to $100 million in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which provides low-interest loans for the balance of the battery and new solar in cases when the upfront costs of the home battery system installations are not met by the SA government subsidy. The loans are delivered through peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, which was named the exclusive administrator of the government’s battery program.

Under the scheme, South Australians are free to buy any battery they want as long as technical requirements are met for the storage system to be safe, reliable and capable of being integrated into a virtual power plant.

The subsidy levels and the subsidy cap are, however, expected to reduce over time as competition in the market increases and the cost of home battery systems goes down,

“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,” said the minister.

Another direct benefits of the SA Home Battery Scheme are around 900 jobs created at three companies that have committed to manufacture locally – sonnen, Alpha ESS, and Eguana Technologies, the minister noted.

Through their agreement with the state government, the manufacturing trio had access to the scheme’s priority period given to locally made battery systems which lasted until the end of 2018.

Since then the SA battery scheme has welcomed five more system providers including: Tesla, LG Chem, Enphase, Varta and BYD.

As the nation’s biggest residential battery subsidy program, the SA scheme is tipped to play a major role in this year’s home battery uptake in Australia.

According to the latest forecast released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Australia will emerge as the world leader in energy storage uptake in 2019, accounting for 30% of global demand. The nation’s home battery fleet is expected to triple this year, with more than 70,000 systems installed by Aussie households.