Steven Marshall recently revealed the State Government’s plan to reduce the cost of electricity. $100 million of subsidies and $100 million in loans will pay for the installation of home solar batteries, through the new Home Battery Scheme.
This is not to be mistaken with Tesla’s virtual power plant, as announced in February. The Tesla scheme will use homes as ‘rental’ space for government-owned systems. The payment for using your rooftop is cheaper electricity.
In contrast, this new scheme allows consumers to choose from a variety of systems which they will then own. However, excess energy generated from solar or stored in a battery will be available for use by the grid.
The new scheme still has a lot of unknowns. But let’s look at what we know, what we don’t know, and what you as the consumer can do.
What we know
1) The basics of the budget
The State Government has announced that 40,000 South Australian households from October will have access to two distinct offerings: subsidies and loans. The details are as follows:
- $100 million in battery subsidies
- $100 million in loans to pay for the installation of home battery systems
- The subsidy will be available to ALL South Australians at $500 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
- Energy Concession Holders will be able to access a higher subsidy at $600 per kilowatt hour (kWh).
- The subsidy is for the BATTERY ONLY.
- The subsidy will vary depending on the size of the battery, but there is a cap of $6,000 per battery installed.
- The loans are available for the entire solar system or for the expansion of existing systems.
- Households will be able to apply for finance through the Commonwealth Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
- Not all battery products will be eligible for the subsidy.
2) The battery criteria
To be eligible, battery systems will need to be virtual power plant (VPP) capable. Not all batteries on the market currently have this capability.
A VPP capable system:
- Includes communication and control functions beyond basic battery system functions.
- Needs to be capable of registering to a VPP with minimal or no additional hardware.
- Will be able to respond to remote commands once registered to a VPP. This allows the energy provider to discharge your battery when the grid needs more power.
Battery systems must meet minimum technical specifications. These include:
- The system must be designed and installed by a CEC-accredited installer.
- The installed system must have a minimum 5-year warranty, including workmanship. The battery component must have a minimum 7-year warranty (under daily cycling application).
- The system must be VPP capable (as above).
A priority will also be given to providers who commit to installing systems that are manufactured or assembled in South Australia.
So let’s take a look at some examples of battery systems that meet these criteria. Remember, these examples are not yet approved, so details may change as more information becomes available.
Battery solutions that meet the criteria and that work with most solar systems:
- Opal Storage by OpalSolar + Reposit Storage Management
- sonnenBatterie by Sonnen
- Smart Hybrid System by Redback Technologies
What we don’t know
1) We don’t know what providers will be approved
Many solar providers are claiming that they WILL be a part of the scheme. This is only speculation.
Solar providers and installers will be required to meet a set of standards. These include CEC accreditation, contribution to the South Australian economy and company reputation. Many providers are basing their claims on these criteria alone, but the accreditation process is yet to be finalised.
2) We don’t know what products will be approved
I know. We just provided a list of systems that do meet the criteria. But, nothing has the stamp of approval yet.
We know that the State Government is in support of Sonnen because their new facility will provide jobs for South Australians. But Marshall also said that ‘consumer choice is crucial’, which means it won’t be limited to Sonnen. Systems with similar capabilities and those that inject value into the South Australian economy will also be on the list.
What can you do?
Keep informed. Research your options. Get the ball rolling and get a quote, but don’t bite the bullet until we know more.
If you’d like to know more about what works for your situation, give us a call on 1300885359 or enquire online.