SA Leading the Way — Big News About Batteries

Updated: Sep 13, 2018

South Australia is fast becoming the most renewable reliant State in all Australia. It has established itself as one of the global leaders in solar utilisation.

And it is only stepping it up in October.

Sun Supported South Australia

S.A already has solar systems on 230,000 rooftops and more than 800MW of total PV power all told.

It also boasts the biggest battery in the entire world — a 100MW lithium-ion affair consisting of a tonne of top-class Tesla Powerpacks.

Absolutely Boss Battery. Photograph: Telsa Motors/Timothy Artman

A home-battery scheme was on the cards for some time now. The local government has very (surprisingly) reasonably identified that the State's past problems with energy security and supply reliability can, in large measure, be offset by an increase of decentralised power providers in the form of residential homes with batteries.

As of my birthday apparently (8 September), they have at last announced the plan and indicated the timeframe.

The Blueprint

As of October this year,

"40,000 South Australian households will have access to $100 million in State Government subsidies and $100 million in loans to pay for the installation of home battery systems."

There will be scalable additional financial support for low-income earners, pensioners and veterans.

The government's battery subsidy will vary turning on the size of the battery being purchased and be capped at $6,000.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will have $100 million of loans on offer for those who would like to invest in a PV array, update an existing one or purchase a battery.


Endlessly Exciting Possibilities

Batteries will bring bills down further than solar alone, allowing homeowners to use PV power produced during the day of an evening and potentially knocking their residual nighttime usage on the head.

A battery enables peak-shaving, load-shifting, offers user-friendly up-to-the-minute monitoring, performance forecasts, automatic self-consumption quotas and, crucially, back-up power in the event of an outage.

Decentralised Virtual Power Plants (VPP) will give homeowners with batteries the opportunity to feed in excess power to the grid directly at peak buy-back intervals and/or the ability to draw on the surplus of other battery owners at times of low personal production/storage.

A Battle of Batteries?

Two titans are lining up to see to SA's battery beneficence. Tesla and sonnen both are staking their claims.

South Australia was initially terra Teslae, but discussions around a local manufacturing base have not yet yielded real-time results. And with the main aim currently car production KPIs, the German battery brand sonnen has, with something of a poetic touch, announced it will itself be making batteries in SA at the old Holden car manufacturing site. Ouch.

sonnen Eco 8.

This is a bit more than just the right to gloat "made in South Australia." The government subsidy will be giving active priority to those who purchase batteries made or assembled locally in the State.

Tesla's VPP plan cleared the first step of 1,100 installs being co-funded by the government, but the trickier question of setting up and kitting out 49,000 low-income households with Powerwall 2s hasn't been definitively resolved. The fresh legislation could be Tesla's ticket to sort it out.

Sonnen has been intending to kick-off a VPP of its own on own its own model in Wildpoldspried DE. Since around October last year, actually. One might muse that this whole Holden business is a (certainly sound) strategy to secure swift results toward the close of the calendar year in a market Tesla planted its flag on earlier.

Competition of this kind can only be good for consumers. Spoilt for choice and with a subsidy!

Interested in a battery yet? Be in touch today to talk to a friendly, informative and helpful Astra Solar consultant.

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