CEC calls for new policies to support increased uptake of rooftop solar, home batteries

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Rooftop solar, home battery systems and other consumer energy resources (CER) have been identified as critical to Australia’s energy transition, but the Clean Energy Council (CEC) says comprehensive policies and programs are needed to ensure increased adoption of behind-the-meter resources.

The CEC said the Powering Homes, Empowering People report sets out the optimal pathway for Australia to capitalise on its uptake of rooftop solar and empower homes and businesses to embrace an electric future.

CEC Distributed Energy Policy Director Con Hristodoulidis said the report, which includes modelling by energy industry consultancy Oakley Greenwood, outlines a range of policies and programs needed to encourage the uptake of CER.

“It is critical that we get the policy settings right to maximise the benefits of Australia’s rooftop solar success story,” he said. “Australia’s electrification journey has only just begun and adopting CER at even greater scale will be the key to lowering power bills and a timely energy transition.”

Australia is an acknowledged world-leader in rooftop solar, with one in three homes now generating renewable power from their roof but the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has forecast a massive increase in CER will be needed to meet the nation’s renewable energy and emissions targets.

The least-cost pathway to meeting those targets, as modelled in AEMO’s Integrated System Plan Step Change scenario, requires approximately four times more rooftop solar, 34 times more distributed battery capacity and 135 times more orchestrated battery capacity by 2050.

The CEC said delivering on that scenario is a monumental task and one that’s far from guaranteed but the rewards for achieving strong growth in CER include significantly lower energy bills for consumers, greater energy security as ageing coal-powered stations close, and more opportunities for businesses and workers.

Among the policies and programs outlined in the report is a rebate of up to $6,500 (USD 4,287) per household to encourage the installation of behind-the-meter battery storage systems.

The report also calls for a national energy productivity scheme to be established to provide federal oversight of energy efficiency and orchestration of home batteries and standardise certificates, and setting targets for CER and orchestration on government-owned assets and buildings.

Other initiatives include providing opportunities for renters and social housing residents to participate in CER, and establishing a $100 million fund for community electrification and energy efficiency education programs.

Hristodoulidis said unlike similar reports that focus on supply-side challenges for CER and the grid, this roadmap focusses on unlocking consumer benefits to empower as many Australians as possible to take up CER.

“The policy recommendations set out in this roadmap will guide Federal, state, territory and local governments in planning over the long term to unlock exciting new opportunities for every Australian household and business,” he said.

“Empowering homeowners, renters, social housing residents and business owners to understand and adopt CER will build an Australian energy system that is cleaner, cheaper and fairer for everyone.”

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