More than 5,000 South Australian solar households have piled into battery storage in the space of just five weeks, in a last-minute rush to access a $6000 discount through the state government’s $100 million home battery scheme.
South Australia’s Liberal government announced in early March that it would begin a step-down of its generous and highly successful home energy storage policy, reducing the maximum subsidy from $6000 to $4000 from April 15.
State energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan says the announcement sparked a flood of new applications to the HBS scheme, boosting the total uptake of subsidised systems to 12,334, so far.
“Home owners have been banging down the doors of the system providers to get themselves a home battery during the last five weeks,” van Holst Pellekaan said in a statement on Friday.
“South Australia will have an additional 146MWh of additional storage when the 12,334 home batteries are installed which will help reduce electricity bill for all other household customers.”
Not that participation in the scheme needed any boosting. As the minister said last month, it had been a “strong surge” in the number of households taking up the subsidy, and pushing numbers past 7000, that had sparked the decision to start winding it back.
As One Step reported earlier this week (and see the SunWiz chart below), South Australia was already at the head of the pack on home battery storage uptake at the end of 2019, and this latest surge in uptake should keep it there for some months longer, at least.
“South Australia is light years ahead of the other Australians states when it comes to the adption of the electricity cost saving and environmentally responsible home batteries,” said van Holst Pellekaan.
“The massive uptake of the HBS has also created a mini jobs boom for home battery installers at the very moment we need as much work as we can possibly get in South Australia.
“The installation of the remaining 6,700 batteries and associated solar panels will provide the equivalent of 150 full time jobs in the growing green energy industry in South Australia during the next 6 months.”
The scheme has also been instrumental in the establishment of local manufacturing facilities by global battery storage giants Sonnen and Alpha ESS – both of which now have factories up and running in Adelaide.
And it has paved the way for the roll-out and testing of virtual power plants, seven of which have now been established as part of the home battery scheme by AGL, ShineHub, Simply Energy, EnergyAustralia, Stoddart Group, sonnen, and Tesla.
“By getting on the front foot, South Australians have been the big winners through massive cuts to participating households’ electricity bills, attracting seven VPP programs and helping to stabilise the grid and reduce costs for other consumers,” van Holst Pellekaan said.
For those households who missed out on the maximum subsidy, all is not lost. The scheme aims to installed discounted batteries in a total of 40,000 homes, and $4,000 off the price of a system is still a pretty sweet deal. Low interest loans are still available too.