CEC proposes $6,500 subsidy for home batteries to soak up rooftop solar

The push for a home battery subsidy is becoming stronger, with the Clean Energy Council (CEC) urging an up to $6,500 subsidy to help integrate home batteries with the grid and soak up excess rooftop solar.

“The success of rooftop solar in Australia has been driven by a strong uptake of federal rebate and incentive schemes over the years, while similar programs for home batteries recently implemented in select states and territories have already proven popular,” says CEC director of distributed energy Con Hristodoulidis.

“A national scheme is now needed to maximise the benefits of orchestrated home batteries for consumers and this has to be designed to deliver the highest quality products and meet strong safety standards.”

Some states already have battery subsidies or other incentives, although most are capped. The Queensland government recently announced a $4,000 rebate for home batteries, subject to income limits.

CEC modelling suggests households with a standalone battery could save $900 a year on their energy bills, but orchestrated battery systems that are integrated into electricity markets could see savings of more than $1150 a year.

Already however battery demand is surging, as continually decreasing feed in tariffs encourage consumers to look for ways to better use their rooftop solar systems.

In January, a manager at solar panel and battery installer Smart Energy told RenewEconomy that demand for batteries has doubled and much of those requests from from people with existing solar systems.

Furthermore, states are increasingly moving into home battery subsidies.

In Queensland, which in February began offering an up to $4000 incentive, that move marked a complete reversal of its position a year earlier that home batteries weren’t value for taxpayer money.

It’s now a no-brainer, DER

Distributed energy resources (DER) – all of the small scale devices from rooftop solar to EVs – that in the last year have delivered 10 per cent of the needs of the National Energy Market are now on the federal radar as critical to meeting the 82 per cent renewables in the energy market by 2030.

The CEC says home batteries are the “missing piece of the puzzle” with the federal Capacity Investment Scheme, the Powering Australia plan and the rooftop solar PV SRES program.

The first two are aimed at large-scale renewables, but the latter is the system that offers a rebate for rooftop PV in the form of small-scale technology certificates.

“Residential battery storage provides owners with flexibility as to when to generate, use and store electricity generated by rooftop solar,” the CEC says.

“Orchestrated residential batteries have the added advantage of being able to trade electricity with the grid at optimal times, increasing consumer savings and supporting the broader energy system.”

Even the regulators are finally on board: in February the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) said it was considering a rule change that will allow Australian homes and businesses to monetise assets like rooftop solar, battery storage and electric vehicles, while also providing much greater visibility of consumer energy resources to the market operator has been proposed by regulatory authorities.

The rule would allow customers to have their so-called Clean Energy Resources (CER) separately metered and managed from their “passive” loads, like lights and fridges.

The federal government is inching its way towards helping Australians towards rooftop and battery systems,launching a Solar Consumer Guide as a “single source of truth” to make buying a solar-battery easier.

This article was first published by One Step off the Grid. You can read it here.

Rachel Williamson
April 19, 2024
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