As the only Australian-based company to join the scheme, Redback Technologies is offering its storage solution, the Smart Hybrid Inverter, to South Australians at a subsidized cost.
Under the scheme, launched in late October, 40,000 households can access grants of up to $6000 to help pay for a home battery system, and shift to more affordable and reliable energy sources.
“With the cost of renewable energy technology continuing to fall, there’s never been a better time to consider solar and battery storage for homeowners,” says Patrick Matweew, CEO, Redback Technologies.
“We applaud the South Australian government for introducing the subsidy. They are refocussing efforts on empowering consumers to take control of their energy future, whilst simultaneously driving energy prices down, taking stress off grid infrastructure and helping to limit climate change. It’s truly a win-win situation.”
According to the latest update released by the government, the interest in the SA battery program continues to grow. A total of 101 batteries have been installed and more than 500 households are in line for installation, while a further influx of applications is expected as public awareness builds.
“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,” Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said last month, noting that he was very pleased with the initial response to the subsidy scheme.
The Redback system will be one of the ten battery brands currently available under the scheme, including sonnen, Alpha ESS, and Eguana Technologies, the trio that committed to manufacture locally and had access to the scheme’s priority period, which lasted until the end of 2018. Since then the SA battery scheme has welcomed six more battery brands including: Tesla, LG Chem, Enphase, Varta, BYD, and Pylon Tech.
The Redback Smart Hybrid System combines a a 5kW solar inverter, a battery cabinet which is expandable and holds up to 9.6kWh of energy storage, and market energy management software.
“As an Australian born and bred company, we understand the struggles that Australian consumers have when it comes to their energy bills. Since 2015, we’ve been building a product that puts the Australian homeowner at the heart of the technology. We’re confident that the South Australia battery scheme will open us up to a new market and increase our footprint around Australia,” says Matweew.
While it is the company’s hope that similar subsidy schemes will eventually be introduced on federal level to further empower consumers, Redback systems are already available under a similar subsidy program run by the Queensland government. The QU program is smaller in size and provides battery grants to up to 1,500 households and small businesses, including grants of $3,000 and interest-free loans of up to $10,000 over 10 years for up to 10,000 combined solar and battery storage systems, as well as grants of $3000 and interest-free loans of up to $6,000 for 500 batteries.
In SA, Redback systems will be installed by NRG Solar Services, Class A Energy Solutions and Greener Housing Solutions.
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.
This article was amended on 11/2/2019 to reflect that Redback Technologies produces its hybrid inverters overseas.