In what is a first for Australia, and an example for other local and national governments, the City Council of South Australia capital, Adelaide, has introduced an incentive for households and businesses to install battery systems.
Storage for solar PV
As part of an expanded Sustainable City Incentives Scheme which aims to work towards a carbon neutral Adelaide, businesses, residents, schools and community organizations will be offered an incentive of up to Au$5,000 (US$3,700) for installing battery energy storage alongside solar PV.
“Just as we capture and store the rain water that falls on our roofs, we can capture the sun’s energy and store it until we need it, making continuous availability of carbon-free renewable energy a reality,” said Adelaide Lord Mayor Martin Haese. “Energy storage coupled with renewables is a game changer for the way the world reduces carbon emissions. With more than 27% of South Australian households already having solar PV on their roof, we are perfectly positioned to embrace the next era.”
The Scheme also covers other community energy investments, including up to Au$5,000 for solar PV, Au$500 for an electric vehicle charging controller, Au$5,000 for apartment building energy efficiency upgrades, Au$1,000 for changing out quartz halogen downlights to LED downlights, Au$1,000 for a solar hot water system, Au$120 for an energy monitoring system and Au$500 for rain water tanks.
Governments lead by example
According to the Lord Mayor, between 2007 and 2013, the Adelaide community reduced its carbon emissions by 19%, which he takes pride in saying was due to the “early and widespread adoption of emerging technologies” in energy efficiency and renewable energy. And in a clear case of leading by example, the Council has reduced its own carbon emissions by 60%, and since 2009/10 has reduced total energy use by 10.3% and saved more than Au$400,000 per annum on electricity costs.
Since the announcement of the storage incentive, the South Australia government has committed to provide funding to double the Sustainable City Incentives Scheme funding in 2015/16 to extend its reach to more city businesses and households. Further, the state government has put out its own Au$1.1 million tender to install battery storage in several key government buildings, including Parliament House, the Art Gallery of South Australia, the state museum, the state library, a railway station and various schools.
Batteries for Australia
Consumers are spoilt for choice of batteries in Australia and prices are rapidly dropping, driven in no small part by the launch of the Tesla batteries, according to the local publication RenewEconomy quoting Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures. Price reductions of batteries of over one-third have been recorded over the past 6 months and according to BNEF, Tesla has effected a price cut of around 50% in Australian dollar terms.
Among the batteries available are from Samsung SDI, which is testing its units with Origin Energy, and AU Optronics, which is working with AGL Energy.
Tesla is already active in Australia with its Model S EV on the market and recently the company has been expanding the charging network. Tesla’s new batteries are slated for arrival in Australia early next year. The country will be one of the first outside the US to get the batteries and with the high uptake of solar PV – around 1.4 million homes, according to the Grattan Institute – is expected to be one of the major markets for them.
LG Chem is launching a new energy storage system in Australia, which is expected to become available in August. Another new entrant in the market is Panasonic, which is currently piloting projects with ActewAGL, Snowy Hydro's Red Energy and Ergon Energy and expects to make its batteries available commercially in October.
A 2012 study by Marchment Hill Consulting estimated a potential market for energy storage devices in Australia of up to 3,000MW by 2030.