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Adelaide City Council offers energy storage incentive, Australia’s first

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Households and businesses in the South Australian capital could be some of the first in the nation to adopt solar plus storage, after the Adelaide City Council became the first of any sort of government in Australia to offer a financial incentive for installing battery systems.

The Council revealed on Tuesday that it would offer businesses, residents, schools and community organisations in the city of Adelaide an incentive of up to $5,000 for installing energy storage, as part of an expanded Sustainable City Incentives Scheme.

adelaidesolar roof

The incentive is aimed at driving community investment in solar + storage, as well as in energy efficiency and electric vehicles – part of a localised response to climate change, the council says, and to the state government’s plans for a carbon neutral Adelaide.

According to the council, the scheme will offer Adelaide businesses, residents, schools and community organisations up to $5,000 for installing solar PV, energy storage, or for apartment building upgrades; up to $500 per electric vehicle “charging controller”; and up to $1,000 for switching halogen downlights to LED.

This means that for those Adelaide CBD households among the 27 per cent of SA residences already with solar PV installed, the decision to add battery storage to the mix – and perhaps even an EV – will now be a lot simpler and a lot cheaper.

As you can see in this story from earlier this month, the cost of battery storage has been falling in Australia, a downward trajectory that has been accelerated by the Tesla product launch. Solar wholesaler and distributor Solar Juice was recently offering a 3.6kWh Samsung battery storage product, with inverters and smart meters, for $AS7,999.

With its world-leading wind resource, South Australia is already a hugely exciting market to watch for the development of Australian renewables. But its huge rooftop solar uptake – which, as we reported last week, AEMO has predicted could reduce the state’s grid demand to zero, on occasion, as soon as 2023 – along with the new incentive, make it a fascinating test case for the uptake of batteries.

And it further increases the odds the state will switch to 100 per cent renewables, sooner rather than later – odds already boosted the week before last by the announcement from Alinta Energy that it plans to shut its Northern and Playford B power stations and Leigh Creek coal mine ahead of schedule.

“We are on the cusp of an energy revolution,” said Adelaide City Lord Mayor Martin Haese. “Now, just as we capture and store the rain water that falls on our roofs, we can capture the sun’s energy and store it until we need it, making continuous availability of carbon-free renewable energy a reality.”

“Between 2007 and 2013, our community has reduced its carbon emissions by 19% and this wonderful achievement has been made possible by early and widespread adoption of emerging technologies in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Haese said.

“Council is determined that we will continue to be a leader in climate action, and our expanded incentives to further encourage the Adelaide’s businesses and community early adopters,” he said.

Adelaide City Council has reduced its own carbon emissions by 60 per cent, and since 2009/10 has reduced total energy use by 10.3 per cent and saved more than $400,000 per annum on electricity costs.  

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