The Victorian Labor government is to provide subsidies of up to $5,000 to help 10,000 households install battery storage in their homes, adding to its suite of household energy incentives that include rebates and zero interest loans for rooftop solar, and a package for solar hot water systems.
The battery storage incentive scheme was announced on Tuesday, along with the details of the large-scale renewable energy auction that will see 928MW of new wind and solar projects built in Victoria as part of its target of sourcing 40 per cent renewables by 2025.
The battery storage subsidy will provide $40 million to assist 10,000 homes, with the subsidies to depend on the size of the battery. Some will get up to $4,838. The scheme is dependent on Labor getting re-elected at November’s state poll.
“This is a game changer for Victorian families fed up with big corporations that have been price gouging and ripping consumers off ever since Jeff Kennett and the Liberals privatised our electricity,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
“This is about modernising our electricity grid to help us transition to a more affordable, reliable and clean energy system,” said energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio.
The announcement comes just days after the South Australia Liberal government announced details of its battery storage incentive scheme, which will see upfront grants of up to $6,000 for 40,000 homes. That scheme is expected to cost $100 million, with the scale of the subsidy rapidly decreasing over the four-year program.
In South Australia, there was a competition between the then Labor government and the Liberal party over who could offer the most attractive battery storage subsidy, but there seems to be no such competition of ideas in Victoria, with the state Liberals proposing only to axe the state’s ambitious renewable energy target.
The competition for ideas is only emerging in inner city electorates where Labor is facing competition from the Greens.
The Victoria Labor government late last month announced a $1.2 billion scheme to offer rebates for half the cost of a 4kW rooftop solar system, and zero interest finance to pay for the balance.
It expects this to assist another 650,000 homes add rooftop solar – or a total of 2.4GW of capacity. It also announced a $60 million scheme to pay $1000 toward the installation of solar hot water systems in homes that are not suitable for rooftop solar panels.
The latest announcement will open up subsidies to even more households – those already using solar panels to generate power – as Labor looks to build a strong cost-of-living policy platform heading into November’s election.
The battery storage assistance will be available only to those with existing rooftop solar systems, and with an annual household income of less than $180,000.
Eligible homeowners will be able to save up to $4,838 on installation of a battery storage unit, tapering down to $3,714 by 2026 as the price of batteries comes down.
The government says this will save households with an average 11kWh battery around $650 a year on their electricity bills in addition to savings they are already making with solar panels.
It says the scheme will be able to communicate with each other and be used in virtual power plants and future micro-grids, allowing households in a local area to share their stored power to lower electricity prices even further.
The Labor government also says it will invest $10 million to transition the grid to support more renewable energy over the next 10 years, including a new expert Network Services Advisory Committee and regulatory reform.