Wall mounted battery with electric car charger

Available to 40,000 households, South Australian’s can now access $100 million in State Government subsidies to help pay for the installation of home battery systems. 

With an additional $100 million provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, finance is also available through RateSetter to help households pay for the balance of the subsidised battery and new or additional solar if required.

The subsidy is available to all South Australians, and calculated on the kilowatt hour capacity of the battery purchased. Furthermore, Energy Concession Holders are eligible for a higher subsidy, ensuring low-income households are supported to access the Scheme.

Home Battery Scheme subsidy levels

Energy concession holder

All other households

$600.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh)

$500.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh)

 

For example, a battery with 5kWh of storage could receive a $2500 subsidy, or $3000 for energy concession holders. While the subsidy will vary depending on the size of the battery, it is capped for everyone at a maximum of $6,000 per battery installed.

What is a home battery system?

A home battery system typically includes a battery and an inverter, paired with existing or new rooftop solar panels. Not all battery systems provide backup power. If you want a home battery system that provides uninterrupted electricity in the event of a blackout, additional equipment needs to be installed. (Ask a qualified System Provider to include this option when obtaining a quote).  

The system works by storing excess generation from your solar panels during the day providing stored energy to be used when the sun goes down. By storing and using more of the energy generated by your solar system, your household will draw less energy from the grid, saving you money on your energy bill.

This means lower electricity costs for the households who purchase a system. In turn, the installation of these systems will reduce demand on the network (especially during peak periods) lowering energy prices for all South Australians.

Diagram of power distribution in a home

"Best thing we ever did"

John, a semi-retired building surveyor, and his wife Brenda, installed a 10kWh battery using the full $6,000 subsidy and upgraded their existing solar panels to 5.4kWh at the same time.

“I’ve always believed in doing it – I’m a building surveyor by profession and I assess energy efficiency daily when I’m approving buildings,” said John.

“My previous bill was $684. The first bill came nine days after the system went in and we got a $58 rebate. I was flabbergasted – my jaw dropped. Our last full bill came the other day and I got a $159 rebate for the quarter. We don’t get any bills anymore, only rebates.”

“The new batteries are a viable technology. They’re affordable and there’s a reasonable payback time. We worked out it would take eight years to break even – with the rebate I’m thinking it’s down to about four or five years. That puts it in the realms of being affordable."

John, St Andrews Farm

SOLAR AND BATTERY SYSTEM:10kWh BATTERY AND 5.4kWh SOLAR

Content courtesy of NewsCorp

Green question icon

Am I eligible for a subsidy?

The Scheme has been designed to ensure every household on the grid is eligible to purchase a subsidised home battery system.

However, South Australian Energy Concession Holders will be able to access a higher subsidy, further assisting low-income households to access the Scheme.

To claim the subsidy, an approved battery system needs to be installed by a System Provider who is qualified under the Scheme.

The Terms and Conditions of the subsidy are available to download below:

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How much does a battery cost?

The cost of a home battery system varies depending on the size of the battery, and whether you need to purchase new or additional solar panels. As a guide, download the HBS System Price Guide.

The subsidy is calculated on the kilowatt hour capacity of the battery – meaning the bigger the battery, the larger the subsidy – but it is capped for everyone at $6000 per battery installed.

Low interest loans are available to assist households cover the purchase of the subsidised battery and new solar panels if they don’t already have them.

How is the subsidy administered?

Unlike a rebate, where the consumer gets a partial refund on the purchase of a product, a subsidy is a sum of money given to an industry or business to reduce the cost of a product or service for the consumer.

The South Australian Government is working with Australian peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, to administer the subsidy and finance to households.

Should you accept a quote for an eligible home battery system, the System Provider will provide you with a link to the RateSetter website where the subsidy will be applied for. If you are looking for a finance option for your system, you can apply for this at the same time. If you don't have access to a computer or the internet, you will be able to apply over the phone.

The subsidy amount that you are eligible for is deducted from the amount quoted by the System Provider. Once you have confirmed that you are satisfied with the installation in your home, the subsidy amount will be paid to the System Provider.

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How do I access the subsidy if I don’t have a computer or the internet?

If you don’t always have access to a computer or the internet, you will not be excluded from accessing the Scheme.

You can call the Home Battery Scheme enquiries line on 8463 3555 and someone will help you to find a qualified System Provider and request a quote(s) for a home battery system.

For every quote you obtain from a qualified System Provider, a ‘Quote Record’ will be generated in the RateSetter system, ready for you to apply for the subsidy should you accept their quote.

The System Provider will contact you to ask if you wish to proceed with the quote and apply for the subsidy. If you don’t have an email address or access to a computer, the System Provider will ensure that a paper copy of the subsidy application form is posted to you.

If you intend on applying for finance you can do this online or over the phone. Your chosen System Provider may come to your home with a tablet or mobile device and step you through the subsidy application process and assist you to apply for finance.

Once your home battery system is installed the System Provider will ask you to confirm you are satisfied with the installation. This can be done while the System Provider is at your home or over the phone with RateSetter. Only after you are satisfied will the subsidy be released to the System Provider.

If you have any questions about your Quote Record, the subsidy application process or how to apply for finance you can call RateSetter on 1300 396 078.

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How much can I borrow?

The subsidy from the State Government will only apply to the battery component of the system purchased.

Subject to credit approval, additional finance will be available to assist participating households pay for the balance of the home battery storage system, as well as new or additional solar panels if needed.

When applying for the subsidy, a loan application can be made through RateSetter, the administrator of the Government’s Home Battery Scheme subsidy and $100 million in finance provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Customers are encouraged to carefully consider their options for funding their purchase and to seek independent professional advice if necessary.

Use the RateSetter Home Battery Scheme calculator to calculate your loan repayments.

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Can I access the subsidy more than once?

Yes. If you own multiple properties, you can access the subsidy more than once. However, the property must be a residential property and you can only access the subsidy once per property.

You will be required to provide the National Metering Identifier (NMI) of the property when applying for the subsidy (this can be found on your bill).

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I already have solar. Can I get more panels when purchasing a battery?

Households with existing solar systems will be able to purchase new or additional solar panels if needed when purchasing a home battery system.

The subsidy only applies to the battery component of the system, however you can apply for a low intersest finance loan through RateSetter to pay for the remainder of the battery and new solar panels.

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I have an existing solar system. Will I lose my feed-in tariff?

One important consideration when adding a battery to an existing solar system is the impact this may have on your existing solar feed-in tariff. If you have an existing solar system and receive the 44c/kwh feed-in credits under South Australia’s statutory feed-in scheme, you will no longer be eligible to receive feed-in credits if the capacity of your solar system is increased or a battery system is installed. Your eligibility to receive feed-in credits will cease from the date of your application for approval to connect the home battery system is submitted to SA Power Networks.

You may also wish to speak to your retailer about how adding a battery may affect any feed-in tariff you currently receive.

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How big is a battery storage system and where will it be stored on my house?

Typically a home battery system is between 30 – 125 kilograms, and between the size of a microwave and the ‘outdoor’ part of a split cycle air conditioning unit, depending on the energy storage capacity. Batteries can only be installed outdoors or inside a garage and they are often mounted to the wall, but can also be installed on the floor. Talk to a qualified system provider to find more specific information about battery sizes.

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Will the battery work in a blackout?

The main benefit associated with having a home battery system is energy independence – being able to store the electricity generated by your solar panels for use during the evenings and mornings when electricity is at peak demand.

Not all battery systems offer ‘blackout protection.’ Households looking for backup power during an outage will need to request this feature when talking to a qualified System Provider.

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I don’t own my home, can I still access the subsidy?

Yes. You don’t have to own the home you live in to access the Scheme, however you will need to obtain approval from the homeowner to have the battery system installed and be able to demonstrate the homeowner’s consent to the System Provider prior to installation. Importantly, you will not be able to remove the battery system should you move out of the property.

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If I get a subsidised battery, can I live off the grid?

No. A requirement of the Scheme is that eligible home battery systems are capable of being part of a virtual power plant. For this reason your home needs to be connected to the SA Power Network’s electricity network.

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Am I eligible for an Energy Concession? How do I apply for one?

Eligible South Australians on low or fixed incomes can apply for help with the cost of energy bills. The concession amount is indexed each financial year. For 2019-20, you may be eligible to receive up to $226.67 to cover both electricity and gas payments (including LPG bottled gas). For more information, visit: www.sa.gov.au/topics/care-and-support/financial-support/concessions/energy-bill-concessions

It is also strongly recommended that households contact their retailer when facing difficulty paying electricity bills. Retailers will work with customers regarding repayment of their bills, and may be able to offer a discounted rate if requested.

Customers applying for the energy concession should check the expected processing time for their concession application. Home Battery Scheme customers applying for the energy concession holder subsidy rate must have been approved for the energy concession for the higher subsidy rate to be applied.

More information about the eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found online at www.sa.gov.au/topics/care-and-support/financial-support/concessions/energy-bill-concessions Alternatively, call the Concessions SA hotline on 1800 307 758.

 

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Will I have to change my energy retailer?

Not necessarily. Many System Providers will be offering battery systems which are not tied to a program operated by a particular energy retailer.

However, it is anticipated that energy retailers who offer eligible batteries as part of a virtual power plant program may apply to become qualified System Providers. If you choose to purchase a battery system that will be part of a virtual power plant, a condition of purchasing the home battery system may be that the System Provider becomes your energy retailer.

 

If you are interested in signing up to a virtual power plant program, read the terms and conditions carefully. As part of a virtual power plant you will need to allow the operator to access energy from your battery at certain times. Depending on the terms and conditions of the customer agreement, you may be paid for the energy the operator uses from your battery.

If you are looking to change your energy retailer or compare offers available in South Australia visit the Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website.

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If my Energy Concession stops, will I need to pay back part of the subsidy?

No. The subsidy will be determined by your eligibility at the time of purchase.

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What is a virtual power plant?

A virtual power plant is created by a network of home solar panels and battery storage systems all working together to generate, store and feed energy back into the grid.

Energy from the home solar panels and battery systems installed as a part of a virtual power plant mainly provides electricity for the house on which it’s installed. However, energy generated or stored by the system and not used by the household can be automatically dispatched to support the needs of the grid and can help power the rest of the state when its needed.

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How is the Home Battery Scheme different to South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant, announced in February, 2018?

The Home Battery Scheme is quite different to South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant and other virtual power plant programs currently being trialled in South Australia.

A key difference is that households accessing the Home Battery Scheme will own the system installed on their property and be able to choose from a variety of home battery storage system and virtual power plant specific retail offers, which are increasingly becoming available in South Australia.

Tesla with support from the South Australian government is developing a network of potentially 50,000 home solar and Powerwall battery systems across South Australia - all working together to form the world’s largest virtual power plant.

The trial phases involving 1,100 Housing SA properties are nearing completion, however households interested in participating in the program can register their interest at www.virtualpowerplant.sa.gov.au

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I’ve signed up to a virtual power plant, am I eligible for the subsidy?

Yes, if the operator of the virtual power plant has been approved as a qualified System Provider and the home battery system meets the Equipment Eligibility Criteria of the Scheme, and you will own the battery system.

However, the subsidy cannot exceed the amount you pay for the system.

You should enquire with the operator of the virtual power plant for more information

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Can I get the subsidy for a battery installed before the Scheme launched?

Batteries purchased and installed prior to 29 October 2018 will not be eligible for the subsidy.

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Can the battery be re-sold after being purchased with a subsidy?

The objective of the Home Battery Scheme is to assist customers with the upfront cost of purchasing a home battery system to reduce their energy bills and use VPP capability to improve grid management. It is not intended that customers on-sell products for which they have received a subsidy. Subsidies will only be processed after installation of the systems. Batteries cannot be removed from the installation site except for maintenance or repair; or for safety reasons; or to dispose of the battery after the expiry of all warranties; or with the written consent of the SA Government.

Do I need council approval to install a battery?

If you live in a multi-storey residential flat or apartment building, where a dwelling sits vertically above another dwelling, you may need council approval to install a home battery system. Enquire with your local council as to whether a development approval is required prior to purchasing a home battery system. It is also recommend you seek written approval from your body corporate and/or building manager for the installation prior to agreeing to purchase a system.