NSW Empowering Homes Program Launch – Register Your Interest Is Now Open


NSW Government Solar Panels

After winning the NSW State election earlier in the year, the Liberal Party had released very little information around the Empowering Homes Program, which was a pre-election pledge to New South Wales residents, promising interest-free loans for solar-battery systems or battery for existing solar PV systems.

Just this week new information has come alight with a possible launch for the Empowering Homes Program in Summer 2019/2020, as well as the ability for New South Wales residents to register their interest in taking part in the program.

Empowering Homes Program

The Empowering Homes Program when introduced will provide no-interest loans of up to $9,000 for battery systems and up to $14,000 for solar-battery systems to a maximum of 300,000 households over 10 years.

Solar Finance Interest Free

To be eligible NSW applicants will need to be owner-occupiers of a house and have a combined household income of $180,000 or less per annum. The program will allow for households to re-pay the costs of the solar-battery and battery systems through their energy bill savings.

In NSW over 400,000 households and small businesses have already installed solar systems and this program is aimed to assist in the uptake of battery storage.

Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the loans will support more homeowners to make the transition to cleaner energy and take control of their energy bills.

“I want to deliver a program that provides robust consumer protections in terms of safety, system performance and value for money,” Mr Kean said.

Is Battery Storage For You?

Home Battery Scheme Australia

Battery storage is an optional component for a solar system and won’t benefit everyone’s energy needs. A battery system will charge a battery with your solar system’s excess power and store the power for you to use when your solar panels are not generating energy e.g. at night. For a battery to be useful a solar system needs to be generating excess energy during the day for the battery to store.

Adding a battery to your solar system can be the next step towards energy independence from the grid, but the benefits of batteries are still secondary to the benefits of a solar system itself.

For some households adding a battery system can be beneficial and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid or allow you to become 100% independent from the grid, as part of a standalone (off-grid) system. However it’s important to note that whilst batteries are gradually coming down in price, adding a battery won’t necessarily benefit your current financial situation like a solar system will.

The Empowering Homes Program will take the hit of the initial upfront costs of installing a battery away, but it won’t bring down the overall price tag which it needs to for batteries to really take off in Australia.

Learn More About Batteries Here!

Solar Batteries


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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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