Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market?

The combination of economics, a crucial state political battle, a move to local manufacturing, and soaring grid prices, could finally deliver Australia’s much forecast boom in residential battery storage.

According to a recent analysis by Bruce Mountain, a leading Australian energy analyst who heads CME, the combination of a 5kW rooftop solar system and a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery storage unit is now “significantly cheaper” than grid power.

What this means is that – thanks mainly to the soaring cost of grid power -– a household installing solar and batteries would achieve significant savings, and quickly pay back the cost of purchase.

This is has been confirmed by major German battery storage manufacturer sonnen, whose recently announced plans to build Australia’s first large battery storage manufacturing plant, in Adelaide, offer a sure sign that the company expects the local market to finally take off.

The economics, however, have been given added momentum by the fierce political battle in South Australia, in which electricity costs and reliability are a key voter focus.

Labor has unveiled a Tesla-inspired virtual power plant that will seek to install rooftop solar and a Tesla battery in 50,000 homes – firstly in social housing and then in privately owned low-income households.

A separate Labor policy scheme promises to put aside $100 million to provide another 10,000 households with “interest free” loans to buy solar and storage.

The SA Liberals have their own $100 million scheme, offering a $2,500 grant for 40,000 “means-tested” households, although these units, unlike the Tesla power plant or sonnen installations, will not necessarily be linked into a virtual power plant.

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Giles Parkinson