By Simon Alvarez
A Tesla Powerwall home battery has helped kick off one of Australia’s newest renewable energy initiatives. The 13.5 kWh battery, which was installed alongside a solar system at a home in the New South Wales Hunter region on Friday, is expected to be the first of 300,000 battery installations that will be delivered using the government’s interest-free loan scheme.
The Powerwall 2 installation came less than two months after the Berejiklian government launched the pilot of the Empowering Homes Program, which is aimed at promoting sustainable energy solutions to residents in the area. The pilot is expected to last for up to 12 months, and it involves offering residents interest-free loans of up to AUD 14,000 for a solar-battery installation or up to AUD 9,000 for a battery storage unit.
With the systems in place, the households participating in the program could save over AUD 250 per year on electricity bills after loan repayments. Without the loan repayments, savings are estimated to be up to AUD 2,000 per year for participants in the program.
The Tesla Powerwall 2 is not the only residential battery supported by the program. Other energy storage units from companies such as Enphase, Sungrow, Sonnen, and Senec are also available for consumers. That being said, there is a lot to be said about a Tesla battery being the energy storage solution of choice to kick off the government’s entire program.
In a way, Tesla batteries helped spread the word in Australia about the potential of energy storage solutions for use in real-world settings. The country is home to the Hornsdale Power Reserve, one of the biggest battery installations in the world. Built within a 100-day timeframe, the massive Powerpack farm is widely credited for helping South Australia address its energy problems. Tesla’s big battery installation in South Australia has been a success since Day 1, having saved the region from unexpected power outages numerous times.
The popularity of battery storage systems was hinted by Natural Solar founder and CEO Chris Williams, who noted in a statement to One Step Off the Grid that inquiries about battery storage systems have seen a spike as of late. With the launch of the Empowering Homes Program, Williams stated that there has been an “unprecedented number” of inquiries about residential battery storage solutions.
“With many homes in the Hunter having an abundance of roof space, or already with solar panels installed, there is no doubt people are excited by the opportunity to adopt battery power and reap the benefits of the interest free loan, coupled with future savings. We are seeing annual household savings on energy bills of up to $2,000, homes reduce their carbon emissions and a reduced reliance on the grid. Our vision is to make solar and battery accessible to every Australian household, and the NSW government’s Empowering Homes Program will go a long way to achieving this goal for up to 300,000 homeowners across the state.” he said.