Victorians considering investing in a home battery storage system – and who have not already claimed the state’s rebate for rooftop solar panels – have just 10 days to apply for a $3,500 discount, with the subsidy dropping down to $2,950 come July.
Solar Victoria, which administers the state Labor government’s Solar Homes program, said last week that it would be encouraging eligible households to apply for a battery rebate at the higher value of $3,500 by June 30.
At the time of publication, the Solar Victoria portal put the number of battery rebates still available in the current release at 2,846 – so plenty to go around before the end of the month.
Uptake of discounted home batteries through the Solar Homes rebate has been well below that of discounted rooftop solar panels, but is expected to continue to gain steady momentum, particularly as soaring grid electricity prices start to bite.
Late in 2021, the government made changes to the eligibility guidelines of the scheme to broaden access to the battery discount, removing the requirement for those applying to have an existing solar system of at least 5kW.
This meant households wishing to “bundle” rooftop solar and battery storage in one installation could gain access to the much larger $3,500 battery discount, rather having to opt for the $1,400 currently on offer for rooftop solar. Just one rebate is allowed per household.
It has also meant that existing solar owners who fall below the 5kW minimum system size criteria can add more rooftop panels, making them eligible to invest in a discounted battery storage system at the same time as upgrading their solar.
According to Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan, just under 6,000 battery rebate applications have been approved so far in the 2021-22 financial year, with less than two weeks left – more than double the number in 2020-21.
Once the date ticks over to July, Solar Victoria says an additional 1,700 solar battery rebates will be made available, taking the total to 5,200 rebates available for eligible customers in the 2022-23 financial year.
“Additional rebates mean that more Victorian households will have the chance to switch to cleaner, cheaper energy,” said Solar Victoria in a statement.
“This is also supported with the State Budget providing more than $42 million in funding for Solar Victoria to continue to provide solar and battery rebates to eligible households to install solar PV or battery storage systems.”
All up, the Andrews government has invested nearly $390 million to subsidise the installation of solar panels, solar hot water and solar batteries, since the Solar Homes program began in 2018.
In that time, more than 200,000 Victorian households and small businesses have installed solar technologies, saving them an average of $1,073 each year in electricity costs, the government says.
An update from state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio on Monday noted that uptake of rooftop solar through the scheme had been most popular in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, inlcuding Tarneit, Craigieburn, Point Cook, Clyde North and Truganina.
In regional areas, uptake of the rebates has been highest in northern Victoria, with Mildura at the top, followed by Shepparton, Wodonga, Wangaratta and Wallan.
Eligible Victorian homeowners and rental providers can still apply for rebates of $1400 to install solar panels, with the option of an interest free $1400 loan, and a further $1000 rebate for the installation of solar hot water.
Households that install both solar panels and solar hot water or an energy efficient heat pump can save up to $1,473 each year in electricity costs, the state government says.