South Australia, Sonnen offer free home batteries for bushfire victims

South Australians forced to rebuild after their homes were destroyed during a summer of devastating bushfires will be offered free battery storage through a program backed by the state Liberal government and battery manufacturer sonnen.

State energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said on Tuesday that people who had who lost their homes in the fires could apply for the battery, worth more than $10,000, to help will reduce their future electricity bills and add value to their new homes.

He said providing energy storage systems to households in some of the areas of the state hardest hit by the fires, including Kangaroo Island, would also help ensure future energy security for at-risk remote communities.

“Participants in the state government’s Home Battery Scheme have cut their electricity bills significantly, sometimes to almost nothing, so this initiative represents an ongoing benefit to families rebuilding their lives after the trauma of losing their homes,” the minister said.

“Kangaroo Island and parts of the Adelaide Hills can have outages due to storms, so rebuilding with batteries will make households more energy resilient by improving reliability and affordability.”

For Sonnen, which set up an assembly and manufacturing plant in Adelaide in 2018, the initiative is an opportunity for the now Shell-owned company to support the wider South Australian community rebuild after the fires.

“This initiative will help add significant value to those rebuilding their homes, alleviating pressures of energy costs and provide them with the control to manage their energy needs more independently,” Sonnen Australia CEO Nathan Dunn said.

The offer, which assumes those households will include rooftop solar in their rebuilds, is nonetheless a generous one, with 188 homes destroyed in various blazes around the state over the summer.

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