A new report from The Australia Institute has found that one in four Australians would consider investing in solar and battery storage as a means to quit the electricity grid.
The report, Securing Renewables: How batteries solve the problem of clean electricity, includes the results of recent TAI polling, which point to significant public support for distributed solar and battery storage as both a consumer choice and a national policy priority in the lead up to the federal election.
“The rapid uptake of batteries is going to drive a very Australian energy revolution,” the report’s author Dan Cass says. “It is being driven by grassroots consumer demand rather than a consistent national policy.
“It will gather momentum because of the vast size of our electricity network and relatively low population density, consumer self-interest, unpredictable technological innovation, environmental concern and perversely, a conservative electricity industry that is generally resisting the transition to the smart grid future that storage technologies enable.”
Cass also points to the end of feed-in tariffs in 2016 as another incentive for solar households to become early adopters of batteries.
“If solar households do embrace battery storage then this will lead to lower prices for future market segments, which are less adventurous,” he says. Either way, “consumers are going to turn to storage whether or not reforms to the electricity sector encourage them.”
Of the 1412 people surveyed, 74 per cent attributed their interest in batteries to saving money. Of those surveyed who had already installed rooftop solar, 81 per cent expressed interest in getting batteries to store the excess power they generate.
But a surprising 23 per cent of respondents said they would invest in battery storage as a means to quit the grid entirely. Another 39 per cent said they would buy batteries to gain independence from their energy company.
Interestingly, the survey also found that 34 per cent of respondents would invest in battery storage with a payback period of five years or more; which Cass says suggests that “early adopters of storage are likely to be a significant market, driving down costs and increasing community awareness of the benefits of the technology.”
Up to one in 10 (9%) respondents were prepared to wait even longer, for eight or more years, for their battery system to pay itself back.
© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd