Victorian government expands community batteries, reports record hot water rebates

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According to the Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the government’s Solar Homes Hot Water Rebate program has seen a 224% increase from 2023, with 16,132 applications having already been received.

The program provides $1,000 off the cost of installing a heat pump hot water system and up to $400 a year on electricity bills. The state government has now expanded the plan in response to the uptick in demand with 8,000 additional rebates.

The office of the Premier of Victoria, Jacinta Allan, has said that more than 350,000 Victorian households have received a rebate or loan to take up rooftop solar, home batteries, heat pump hot water systems, and other energy-efficient appliances since 2018.

In terms of energy storage, the Victorian state government has also announced the first round of projects as part of the Neighbourhood Batteries Program. A total of 4.2 MWh of new storage capacity is to be added with funding of over $6 million for 25 neighbourhood batteries across the state. These are meant to help households generate and consume more energy locally, which enables them to lower their power bills.

In this current round of projects now moving forward, the largest battery project, which is to deliver 1,750 kWh storage, is Mondo Phillip Island, where seven 100 kW/250 kWh batteries are to be installed across the island. These should protect network reliability and deliver financial benefits for locals by means of a community dividend payment.

Four batteries will be installed at Queenscliff, delivering 1,000 kWh of storage, Indigo Power will install a Wodonga Neighbourhood Battery with 200 kWh storage; Totally Renewable Yackandandah will install a battery with 200 kWh storage; AusNet is installing ten batteries across the east and northeast of Victoria with a total of 850 kWh storage, and GV Community Energy has received support to install a neighbourhood battery at Tatura and one at Wangaratta representing a total of 216 kWh storage.

D’Ambrosio, noted, “We’re building 100 neighbourhood batteries across Victoria to make sure all families can share the savings from the massive uptake of solar.”  The Victorian government has said the next round of applications will open in August 2024.

Earlier this year, Origin Zero announced it would install and operate three battery energy storage systems with a combined capacity of 450 kW / 1 MWh as part of the City of Melbourne’s Power Melbourne community battery scheme. City of Melbourne Environment Portfolio Lead Rohan Leppert noted: “Storage is the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to providing residents and businesses with access to affordable renewable energy.”

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