It was interesting to note that through the myriad of questions about our services, one common theme which was prevalent in nearly all interactions was that of the adaption of battery technologies into our installations, both residential and commercial.
Battery technology is still very much in its relative infancy, yet already boasts a plethora of differing technologies to do the job. From the oft-used Lead-Acid batteries to newer Lithium-Ion solutions, each option has its pros and cons. Lithium, for example, has a far superior battery life to Lead-Acid, yet comes at a higher price, while the rare Nickel-Iron batteries promise a longer life again but are much less efficient than their Lithium counterparts. As a testament to the extreme pace the renewable energy world moves, it’s important to note that several promising storage technologies have already disappeared into the void of progress, whether due to a lack of resources, or a lack of confidence. Other solutions, such as salt-water batteries, are still struggling to find a decent footing in the market, even with their impressive technology.
Mark Yates, the Director of Yates Electrical Services, recently attended a forum on the South Australian Home Battery Scheme. With an available pool of $100million, the state government are now offering subsidies for up to 40,000 South Australian households to incorporate battery storage into their existing grid connected solar infrastructure. Individual subsidies of up to $6,000 are set to be granted to assist home-owners with the purchase of batteries, while a graded subsidy level will be weighted to better support low-income households.
Although anyone can currently install any type of battery they wish on their systems, to obtain the subsidies, there is a requirement for the installation to be carried out by certified installers with a pre-approved list of battery type and manufacturer – a list which is yet to be received by the governing body subsidising the installations.
One requirement of the batteries will be for them to be Virtual Power Plant ready, enabling a retailer to access and discharge the batteries during high demand periods, essentially combining the aggregated stored energy of the battery installations of their customer base into one massive virtual power station. The profits generated from these high-price events will then be able to be funneled down to the end-user, further reducing their electricity bills.
The South Australian Home battery Scheme is by far the biggest government incentive for home battery storage solutions in Australia which has been offered, which will also be coupled with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s $100million loan pool to assist home-owners in the purchase of rooftop solar for those who don’t already have it – or who are looking to enlarge their current system, as well as assisting with a the purchase of a battery for that system.
The scheme follows on from Liberal Leader Steven Marshall’s promise during his 2017 election campaign to provide $100million in grants to South Australian home-owners. With South Australia having a much heavier reliance on renewable energy generation than other states on the National Energy Market largely due to their lack of coal powered generation, a scheme like this will provide further stability to our energy grid, particularly as South Australia has more than 230,000 rooftop solar installations which are forecast to be producing more energy than the overall demand of the state within the next few years, yet without storage solutions will only do so during daylight hours while the panels are actually able to generate. Having effective storage solutions will go a long way to managing this oversupply during the day, providing a much stronger baseload outside of daylight hours.
Battery storage denotes the next significant shift in the energy market, with the uptake of additional rooftop solar installations with battery storage further supporting the distributed energy model, further moving us away from centralised energy generation which has dominated the industry.
Yates Electrical Services are currently going through the certification process in preparation for the beginning of the Home Battery Scheme. Once we have a better idea of what’s involved with the scheme, a press release will be published outlining how our customers can get involved.
About the Author
Patrick is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Yates Electrical Services. When he's not designing stuff and writing stories, he performs as an acoustic soloist and spends time with his beautiful little family.
Patrick also likes long walks on the beach, sewing, and photoshopping himself to look like an Avenger. He really wishes he was an Avenger.