New Greens solar storage proposal aims to “jumpstart the battery industry”
In a move to provide a major boost to the renewable energy sector in Australia, the Greens have proposed a new plan to make installing solar storage systems more affordable.
The Greens want a 50 per cent refundable tax credit to cover up to half the cost of a new battery system. For the first year, the grant would be capped at $5000 per household before it eventually drops down to $1500 by 2021.
Under the Greens proposal, some 1.2 million homes in Australia could install new storage systems in the next 5 years. The program is expected to cost about $2.8 billion, which could be funded by getting rid of concessions to fossil fuel intensive industries.
The Greens are planning to use the battery storage policy in their talks with the government over its latest budget.
“We’ll be opposing most of this budget, which grows inequality and does nothing for clean energy, but if the government comes to us to talk about some of their less-offensive measures, we’ll want to talk to them about programs like this one,” the Greens energy spokesman, Adam Bandt, told Guardian Australia.
The Greens also want to encourage businesses to invest in solar storage systems by letting them claim depreciation on battery storage assets over three years instead of the current 15 years.
“With public interest high, now is the time for a targeted, 5-year support package to drive down costs and put battery storage in reach of every household and business,” said Bandt.
The policy has been budgeted by the Parliamentary Budget Office, which estimates the household policy would cost $2.85 billion and the business scheme would fund 30,000 units for $38 million.
Can battery storage spell the end of electricity bills?
With solar storage technology gaining increasing consumer attention in Australia and across the world, the obvious question remains whether installing batteries could actually lead to households going off the grid completely. Because the technology is still quite new, and battery costs and payback periods are expected to fall over the years, it is difficult to give a definite answer yet.
However, given that a typical 3-person household in Sydney uses 17.3 kWh a day in summer and 22.8 kWh a day in winter, a home battery can take a considerable load off the amount of electricity you need to buy from the grid, but it’s unlikely to completely power an average home at this point.
You can read more about the key advantages, disadvantages and features of home battery storage in our detailed guide. And if you’re looking to compare electricity prices and providers to know more about current tariff plans, head over to Mozo’s online energy comparison tool for a quick analysis.