The ACT government’s Next Generation Energy Storage (NextGen) program is one of the most ambitious battery storage incentive schemes in Australia, aiming to subsidise the installation of batteries for roughly 5,000 homes and small businesses by 2020. How does the incentive work, and how will it benefit households in the Territory?
How it works
The NextGen program is an auction-based incentive scheme, where different entities ‘bid in’ under a government-run tender process for the right to offer the incentive to their customers. Like the federal incentive for small-scale rooftop solar under the Renewable Energy Target, there is no action that end customers need to take to benefit from the scheme; all they need to do is choose an installer who offers a package that has been accredited under the NextGen program. The benefits received through the program will be noted on the invoice or contract of sale for the system.
Since the NextGen program was created to support the ACT’s vision for higher penetrations of renewables across Australia, the incentive for each system is not based on the amount of energy that the battery bank can store (in kilowatt-hours, kWh), but rather the system’s sustained instantaneous output power rating (in kilowatts, kW). This reflects the ability of the battery to provide network support when it matters most. In some cases, this may be dictated by the system’s inverter, while in others it will be based on the battery’s power rating. The eligible systems and providers have all been vetted by the government for quality, reliability, reputation and ability to deliver on promises.
How ACT households benefit
At present, the incentive is $825/kW of output capacity, but this number will be reviewed as revised tranches of the incentive scheme are introduced. The government keeps a constant eye on the market, and will introduce new tenders as consumer take-up increases and the price of battery storage falls.
As we’ve recently noted, the ACT ‘naturally’ has some of the longest payback periods for solar & battery systems in the country. This is primarily due to the fact that grid electricity prices in the Territory are some of the lowest in the ACT. By Solar Choice’s own estimates, at current incentive levels, the NextGen program helps to bring battery payback periods down from about 13 years to roughly 10 years.
Estimated solar & battery storage system payback periods before the NextGen discount is applied. By our estimates, the average payback periods for such systems will drop below 10 years once the NextGen discount is applied. (Read more about city-by-city battery system payback periods.)
Other benefits of battery storage in the ACT
Canberra is home to battery management system developer Reposit Power, whose software platform allows battery system owners to sell their stored energy into the grid at a premium during high wholesale spot price events. A number of the companies selected offer a Reposit Box with their systems.
Importantly, each battery installed under the program will collect critical data on a range of points to inform research and development–improving outcomes for consumers and the electricity network alike.
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