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Lightsource BP turns sights on Australia residential solar and battery market

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One Step Off The Grid

Lightsource BP intends to enter the burgeoning household solar and battery storage market in Australia, with an installation plan that requires no upfront payments.

The plan is revealed in an application to the Australian Energy Regulator for a retail licence exemption so it can offer its new product to households in  Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The plan is based around the SunPlug program that Lightsource BP launched in the UK last year, which has so far signed up a fleet of 359 solar and battery residential PPAs in England, which total 1.2MW of solar and 2.5MW of batteries.

The offer will be made through a new subsidiary called LightSource Labs, which will enter a PPA with households based around 10-year, 15-year and 20-year contracts, with the PPA price falling.

Households will only pay for the solar output that is consumed in the home. The longer the PPA, the cheaper the price paid – but those details weren’t released in the application.

The pricing for the PPAs will be based on system size, site conditions and the term of the agreement.

The partners to the deal were not revealed either, although in the UK in the Sunplug program, Lighstource BP, in their venture with French energy giant Edf, used batteries by LG Chem. The PPAs in the UK were struck around 9.9p/kWh.

Lightsource BP marked the return of BP to the solar industry – of which it was a pioneer in Australia – when it took a  43 per cent stake in the UK solar developer last December and injected $US200 million into the business.

Till now, their focus on Australia has only been in utility scale and commercial projects. It is holding an information meeting on Wednesday in Winton, Victoria, over its plans for a 15MW solar farm there.

Under the terms of the PPA, Lightsource Labs will monitor and maintain the System throughout the contract term at no extra cost to the customer.

The customer will be allowed to purchase the System at any time after the second year of the PPA at an agreed price, to be set out in the PPA, which is based on the number of years that the system has been in operation.

If the customer purchases the system they will no longer be required to pay for the output from the system and they will own the System outright. The customer will also have an option to transfer the PPA to a new property owner at no extra cost in the event they decide to sell the property.

Lightsource says it intends to launch the product offering this month, subject to a retail exemption being granted by the AER.

The pricing for the PPAs will be based on system size, site conditions and the term of the agreement.

This story was first published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid.  

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