Solar battery storage in Canberra, ACT

Battery storage for residential solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Australia – including in Canberra, ACT. If you’re a Canberra resident looking to install a battery storage system for your home, what are the main things that you need to consider?

Solar Choice has developed a number of large-scale solar projects in the ACT, including the 600 kilowatt (kW) solar array on Amaroo School as well as the Mount Majura Solar Farm. We have also written extensively on the topics of solar power and energy storage, including a number of articles about the benefits of solar specifically in Canberra (e.g. here and here). This article takes a look at battery storage for home solar systems in the ACT.

Is storage worth it for you in Canberra?

Whether or not solar energy storage makes economic sense for your home in Canberra depends first and foremost on whether or not you already have a solar system, and if you do whether or not you have access to a Territory-supported solar feed-in tariff.

In essence, we can break ACT homes into three categories: 1) Those who have solar and a generous feed-in tariff, 2) those who have solar but no generous feed-in tariff, and 3) those who do not yet have solar installed.

Category 1: Existing solar system with generous feed-in tariff

All of the solar feed-in tariffs that were once available to homes in the ACT are now closed to new applicants. But if you’re one of the lucky ones who is currently receiving either 47.5c per kilowatt-hour (kWh) under the small-scale feed-in scheme or 30.16c/kWh under the medium-scale scheme, you will continue to receive payments for 20 years from the date you installed your system.

The implications of this are that there is probably no incentive for you to retrofit a battery bank onto your existing solar system – unless it’s for backup energy purposes or if you are fully intent on increasing your level of energy independence. This is because your solar energy is worth more to you when exported to the grid than when you consume it yourself at home.

Category 2: Existing solar system, no feed-in tariff incentive

If you’re in category 2, you may already be looking to retrofit batteries to your system because any solar power you send into the grid is essentially wasted – you get paid only 6-8c/kWh (depending on your retailer). Batteries allow you to capture the excess solar power and use it later at night – when you need it most. You should be able to see on your electricity bills how much solar you export to the grid – you’ll want a battery bank that will be able to capture that amount. If this is your situation, now may be a good time to install batteries, provided you can find a good deal.

Category 3: Solar system yet to be installed, no feed-in tariff available

If you are in category 3, you are probably in the market for a combined solar-plus-storage system. If you’re in this situation, you have a lot of flexibility in selecting a solar-plus-storage system (and you might want to read our article: How much battery capacity do you need?) If you can afford it and the economics of the system pan out, you may end up having a system installed as soon as you find a good deal.

ACT-renewable-energy-auction-nextgenThe ACT’s NextGen battery incentive scheme

Canberra is home to one of the most ambitious battery incentive programs in the country. The program is called NextGen, and you can read more about how it works here.

More advice & resources

Compare solar & battery storage options in Canberra: Complete the Solar Quote Comparison request form to the right of this page.

© 2017 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Jeff Sykes