Solar battery grants could save billions on renewable energy

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
4 Min Read

Handing Aussie households $6500 to install on-grid solar batteries could shave billions off of big energy projects until 2050.

The recommendations come from a study released this week by the Clean Energy Council after researchers investigated the impact solar panels, home batteries and other consumer assets could have on the electricity market.

According to the report, supporting households to take up renewable energy generation and storage devices would save $20 billion otherwise spent on large-scale projects and more than $2 billion on network infrastructure.

The report also found that reaching the market operator’s consumer energy resources target would see 3.6 million more homes install solar batteries, a huge increase from the current 250,000 homes.

If Aussies manage to pull off the impressive adoption numbers, connected homes could expect to the systems to save between $35 to $71 a year, and create thousands more jobs in manufacturing, installation and maintenance.

According to Clean Energy Council distributed energy policy director Con Hristodoulidis, investing in everyday households meant investing in Australia’s future. 

“It is critical that we get the policy settings right to maximise the benefits of Australia’s rooftop solar success story,” he said.

“Australia’s electrification journey has only just begun and adopting (consumer energy resources) at even greater scale will be the key to lowering bills and a timely energy transition.”

Support to switch on homes

Mr Hristodoulidis said the report also identified policies needed to support household investments in renewable energy, which range from education and consumer protection to incentives and targets.

The study recommended that the federal government introduce a National Home Battery Saver Scheme in 2025, offering incentives of up to $6500 for households to install a solar battery and connect it to the grid, including an annual benefit.

Other support, it said, should include incentives for landlords to install electric appliances, solar panels and batteries, as well as a $100 million Community Empowerment Fund to provide education to consumers, businesses and community groups about renewable energy technology over ten years.

The council’s recommendations follow the market operator’s draft 2024 consultation, which found consumers could provide up to 34 gigawatts of renewable energy storage by 2050.

Renewable energy paves the way forward

The research comes amid a fierce political debate about the future of the country’s energy resources, with many pointing towards nuclear power as the next logical replacement for traditional coal-fired plants. 

However, while nuclear power can run around the clock, emitting virtually no greenhouse gases, a recent report from the CSIRO found that it would take 15 years to deliver and produce electricity at roughly twice the cost of renewable sources. 

According to the agency, nuclear was likely to be at least 50 per cent more expensive than large-scale wind and solar power backed by “firming” technologies such as home batteries.

And it warned that the true costs were likely to be far higher still, given the major risks of cost and time-frame blowouts for a technology that had never been built in Australia before.

“We did a lot of work to determine what nuclear power would cost in Australia,” said Paul Graham, the chief economist of the CSIRO’s energy business.

“But this time, we did an update and looked at the cost of large-scale nuclear reactors, and they’re cheaper — on the order of $150 to $250 a megawatt hour.

“That’s still one and a half to two times the cost of renewables.

“So they are still higher cost than deploying solar and wind.”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.