Australia tipped to add 70,000 home batteries in 2019, lead global demand

Australian is on track to become the biggest home battery market in the world in 2019, with solar households expected to install tens of thousands of energy storage systems in 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The report,
published on Wednesday, predicts more than 70,000 Australian households will install batteries this year – driven by $147 million in state government subsidies and other incentives, as well as low-interest loans and demand response schemes.
BNEF says the progressive state schemes led by governments in South Australia, the ACT and Victoria, are 'solidifying' Australia's residential energy storage market as one of the largest and most promising in the world.
Add to that the policy promise of Bill Shorten's Labor opposition, which – if it wins the federal election slated for May this year – will add a further $A200 million to subsidies for another 100,000 household batteries from 2020.
All up, BNEF expects Australia to account for a whopping 30 per cent of global battery storage demand in 2019, as uptake in the residential sector triples over the course of the year, largely driven by state government policies.
'State governments in Australia are getting behind residential storage – solidifying Australia as one of the most attractive markets in the world,' the report says.
South Australia, in particular, it notes has already attracted Sonnen, AlphaESS and Eguana Technologies to set up local assembly facilities, thanks to its push to prioritise locally manufactured battery systems through its popular policy.
And the policy is proving hugely popular: the Adelaide Advertiser reports
today that 600 SA homes have so far been approved to install batteries through that state Coalition government's scheme.
Citing state government figures, the paper says 101 units have so far been installed under the $200 million scheme that is targeting up to 40,000 properties.
Victoria, meanwhile, looks set to follow suit, as thousands of households taking up the Labor Andrews government's Solar Homes rebate grow the pool of homes that will be primed for the state's coming battery offer.
Under that scheme, announced in September, the government will provide $40 million for subsidies for as many as 10,000 homes, for up to $5,000, depending on the size of the battery.
But growth in the market won't always be all about the subsidies, Bloomberg NEF notes, in the report, titled Australia Residential Storage to Triple, Despite High Cost.
'While the path could be bumpy, BNEF expects Australia to continue to be an attractive market for residential storage after policy support ends – thanks to its high penetration of household solar (already one in five) and high electricity costs,' it says.
And – as all eyes turn to the Australian Energy Market Operator over the coming two days of soaring temperatures across the NEM – the consumer push for greater independence from the grid could also be a major driving factor.
So far this summer – and it's been a scorcher – AEMO has managed to avoid any of its emergency measures to keep lights and air-conditioners running.
But Thursday and Friday are promising to be extra challenging, with a couple of coal units out of action and temperatures in the 40°Cs set to push supply to its limits.
As UNSW's Naomi Stringer explained here this week
, Australia's 2 million rooftop solar systems are already demonstrating how they can be of important use the broader grid in times of trouble or tight supply.
'Inverters can provide fast and controlled response to events, meaning there is potential for distributed PV to aid with power system security into the future,' Stringer writes.
And smart solar systems with batteries, able to store excess power until it is needed, could be invaluable in times of high demand and peak power prices.
'This scheme will benefit all South Australians,' SA Dan van Holst Pellekaan told the Advertiser on Thursday.
'As more home batteries reduce total demand on the network, we can look forward to lower prices for all households.'
Sophie Vorrath
Sophie is editor of One Step Off The Grid
and deputy editor of its sister site, Renew Economy
. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.
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