Victoria’s Labor state government is seeking to boost demand for its home battery rebate by allowing access to the $3,500 discount for households wishing to install both solar and storage at the same time.
The change to the eligibility criteria, announced on Friday, removes the previous requirement for those applying for the state’s Solar Homes battery rebate to have an existing solar system of at least 5kW.
This means that people wishing to “bundle” rooftop solar and battery storage in one installation will be able to get 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 also means 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.
“We have listened to industry and Victorians. Increasingly, people want to bundle a new solar PV system with a battery or upgrade their solar to maximise the return from their battery,” said state energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio in a statement.
“This change will make it easier for more households to reap the benefits of combining a battery with solar PV as part of their home energy system.”
“It’s another way we are putting power in the hands of Victorian to help them save money and reduce emissions.”
The changes might also boost uptake of the discounted battery offering, which has been slower to take off compared to the rooftop solar rebates – a trend consistent with the broader Australian market, with battery storage remaining financially out of reach for many (hence the rebate!).
D’Ambrosio said on Friday that a total of more than 4,000 Victorians had accessed the battery rebate since its launch in mid-2019, more than double the 1,900 reported in January.
Stan Krpan, the CEO of Solar Victoria, which administers the Solar Homes program for the state government, welcomed the increased access to the battery rebate, which he said was “well ahead” of its original schedule, despite falling slightly short of newly expanded targets.
Krpan said the initial 2020-21 target of 1,000 was expanded to 5,000 when uptake of the rebates was gaining momentum towards the end of 2020 and record numbers signed up in November.
Krpan told One Step Off The Grid on Friday that of that number, 2,848 discounted batteries had been installed and another 2036 approved for installation. Another 7,000 battery rebates have been allocated for the 2021-22 financial year.
“We’re ahead of schedule and we’re seeing strong growth in a market that has been severely impacted by Covid,” Krpan said.
*This article has been amended to include the comments of Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan