Labor Commits To Battery Subsidies in 2020

Pending the outcome of next year’s Federal Election, Labor Leader Bill Shorten has pledged a commitment to making battery storage more affordable for Australian homes who have installed solar.

homebatteryAs the current Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) is slowly phased out between now and 2030, the Government turns its focus from aiding the install of solar systems, to assisting the growth and uptake of battery storage for homes with solar systems.

The Government hopes to see one million household battery installations by 2025 and this is the first step in encouraging this goal.

“Australians love renewable energy because they know it saves them money and it’s good for the environment. Household solar installation has sky-rocketed from 7,000 homes in 2007 to 1.8 million homes today” Shorten says

Household Battery Program

Similar to smaller schemes that have been rolled out in individual states such as South Australia and Victoria, Bill Shorten has said its Household Battery Program will offer a rebate of up to $2,000 for batteries ($500/kWh) to 100,000 households from 2020.

The program will be targeted at households with incomes of less than $180,000 and will be limited to one battery system per home. The rebate will not be available to households that have received subsidies from state battery schemes.

After two years Labor has said it will review the scheme in light of projected falls in battery costs and adjust accordingly.

“The Smart Energy Council estimates that new household solar and batteries would allow most homes to save more than 60 percent off their power bills”, Shorten and Butler said.

solar garden

Community Energy Hubs And Solar Gardens

The Labor party has also promised another $100 million targeted to help renters and low-income households access the benefits of renewables.

This will be achieved through community energy hubs and solar gardens, as well as community-based wind farms.

Take Advantage Of SRES Now In Preparation For The Household Battery Program

In preparation of the possibility that Labor wins next years election, Australian residents should take advantage of the current Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and install a solar system for their property now and claim the rebate for batteries when the Household Battery Program is rolled out in 2020 if Labor is elected.

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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.