Home battery storage uptake tripled in 2017 in Australia, as costs tumble

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New report suggests household battery storage set to boom in Australia, with uptake predicted to have tripled in 2017, and costs of the key technology expected to halve in less than seven years.

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One Step Off The Grid

As rooftop solar continues to boom in Australia, a new report suggests household battery storage could soon follow suit, with uptake predicted to have tripled in 2017, and costs of the key technology expected to halve in less than seven years.

The report, published by the Climate Council on Thursday, puts estimates on home battery installations for 2017 at more than 20,000, a three-fold increase on 2016 numbers of 6,750 new installations.

The 2017 installations will amount to a combined energy storage capacity of more than 170MWh, the report says – bigger than South Australia’s Tesla-Neoen Big Battery battery.

The impressive increase in uptake, says the report, marks a “love affair” with clean energy and battery storage that is only just beginning for Australian households, as they discover how it can reduce their exposure to expensive grid supplied power even further, when added to their rooftop solar.

The report, titled Fully Charged: Renewables and storage powering Australia, notes that as the relationship between consumers and energy supply changes – a change that is being fast-tracked by soaring prices at the socket – the public’s knowledge of energy storage is also increasing.

It cites its own September 2017 poll that found that 74 per cent of people surveyed across Australia expect household batteries to be commonplace in homes in the next decade.

The key motivation for this uptake of battery storage, according to more than half of respondents, was to further enable their rooftop solar to “reduce power bills.”

As we reported here on One Step Off The Grid on Wednesday, battery storage is also increasingly becoming “the norm” in new-build houses, with major home developers like Metricon, Stockland and Porter Davis offering solar and storage packages among their ranges of off-the plan homes.

The report also notes that home battery uptake will be boosted by network and government-based efforts to use the behind-the-meter energy storage resources to help shift peak to later in the evening or even into the early morning.

This “virtual power plant” effect is something that is currently being tested already in various places across the National Electricity Market, including by AGL Energy in Adelaide, the CSIRO in Brisbane, and most recently – and the biggest example – by Tesla and the SA government, with a 250MW VPP linking 50,000 household solar and battery storage systems.

This VPP effect, says the Climate Council report, “will become significant as battery uptake increases, helping the rest of the grid to manage peak demand well into the evening.”

On costs, the report says that prices for lithium-ion batteries have fallen by 80 per cent since 2010, and are expected to halve again by 2025, putting them on a price trajectory, or “learning rate” not dissimilar to that taken by solar PV (see tables below).

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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3 Comments
  1. Miles Harding 10 months ago

    I agree on battery prices. The Tesla truck suggests that cell prices may be as low as $75USD per kwh by 2020, making the battery prices in the graph seem plausible, if not a bit high. We must be in line for some dramatic decreases in the next two or three years.

    With contestability coming into the electricty market, we should expect to see a mind boggling variety of plans and options from a field of vendors as diverse as the mobile phone market.

    The concept of a ‘power station’ is going to be re-defined to include all these batteries acting in concert. It won’t be only 100MW facilities that can profit from market volatility.

    This may be very good for PV, batteries and EVs with bi-directional chargers (coming).
    It will also be good for the networks if consumers are given a strong reason for staying engaged.
    It will require a complete brain transplant on part of the network operators such that the ‘consumer’ is treated fairly and given the opportunity to fully participlate in the network and market. To this end, the network operator will be dealing with thousands of micro-power stations that can be called on to stabilise and balance the system.

    It’s all sounding like “mission impossible”. …

    But, it has to be done or incresing numbers of ‘consumers’ will pull the plug and desert.
    (hmmm that same bi-directional car changer could be used to top up an off-grid battery or provide for peaks)

  2. Roger Franklin 10 months ago

    Battery Storage combine with Solar, Wind, Tide – whether it is behind the grid (at home) or grid connected is the future. Lithium-ion will continue to fall but my guess is that the next 3-5 years we will see solid state and other battery technologies that offer much higher levels of energy density and faster charge times become main stream.

    Although readers of this website mostly get renewable energy and batteries, the South Australian Election in March will be the first real test of public perception on renewable energy. SA is certainly leading the energy revolution in Australia, but is it enough?

    Our current network operators in Australia are certainly using their political contacts to influence legislation to ensure that their businesses are protected. My guess is that they are also using this influence to ensure that new operators find it difficult to get established and organisations like Standards Australia will put any Vehicle to Home or Vehicle to Grid testing and the associated legislation on the “No Rush” list.

    What is clear is that “Tesla Battery” Malcolm and “Green Peril” Barnaby are going through a rough patch, and “No Solar Panels” Josh and “Lump of Coal” Scotty don’t get or are told not too like/support batteries!! The corporate line is that “We Love Coal”

    Interesting times!

  3. trackdaze 10 months ago

    Sitrep 2017

    Solar +1.2Gw
    Battery +120Mw residential and over 100Mw utility scale. Like adding an extra hour of sunlight really. Now thats dailight savings 😎

    Coal? Minus 1.5gw.
    Hydro? Still 5 years away.

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