US energy technology company Enphase Energy says orders for its first battery storage offering have jumped to more than 70,000 units, with New South Wales at the centre of demand as households respond to the end of premium feed-in tariffs for their solar installations.
Enphase has chosen Australia as the launch-pad for its first battery storage offering, a 1.2kWh modular lithium-ion unit that is expected to sell for between $2,000 to $2,500 including installation.
It says that it has already had to lift its production volumes because of overwhelming demand for its product, which now total more than 70,000 units in Australia and New Zealand in the next 12 months.
Nathan Dunn, the head of the company’s Australian operations, says that more than half of the demand is coming from NSW, where more than 140,000 households will see generous gross feed-in tariffs for their solar arrays come to an end at the end of 2016.
“Given that more than 50 per cent of interest is coming from NSW, it is clear that people are starting to get ready for the closure of the feed-in tariff at end of the year,” Dunn told RenewEconomy in an interview.
“What we are seeing and hearing from installers is that the smaller size and scaleable nature is resonating with home owners.
“They can buy a single unit that they can install and test the technology. And then they can upgrade. It fits in well with large number of customers coming off systems in NSW.” (Many of whom have relatively small rooftop solar systems that are already paid off from the 60c/kWh gross feed-in tariff).
Dunn is confident that the small size will resonate with consumers because the purchase price was a credit card transaction and allowed consumers to “dip their toe in the water” and get used to the idea of storage.
“There is significant interest in battery storage driven by number of brands – and we thank them for that. The format that’s resonating the most with customers is a small initial up-front payment and the ability to scale over time. Many people don’t want the sticker shock of a bigger unit.”
Dunn said that after NSW, the next biggest markets were Victoria – where some tariffs are also expiring at the end of the year – and Queensland.