Initiative aimed at improving access to battery units welcomed

By Thomas Moir

Tatura environmentalist Terry Court has welcomed a state government initiative aimed at improving access to battery units for household solar.

While hopeful affordable batteries could provide a missing link of sorts, State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed meanwhile wanted more detail on the scheme, had questions on how it could be accessed and how it might work.

Victorians who already have solar panels could be paid nearly $5000 to install battery units to store their generated electricity.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced this week a re-elected Labor government would provide half-price batteries for 10000 households which already have solar panels.

Mr Court said ‘‘without doubt,’’ the proposal would ‘‘encourage the take up of batteries of residents that have existing solar’’.

He predicted substantial annual savings could be achieved.

‘‘This effectively will reduce the cost of batteries dramatically, depending on size,’’ he said, adding it stood to provide energy resilience and reliability outcomes, while relieving ‘‘substantial fluctuations in demand in distribution systems’’.

Ms Sheed said there was ‘‘no doubt’’ batteries were part of a solution for energy storage and usage for homes into the future, adding that the cost had in the past been astronomical.

‘‘We’re constantly being told ... that the price of batteries will gradually come down.’’

And while Ms Sheed had questions around the details of the scheme, she suggested it could pose a good testing ground.

‘‘(It) gives people who might be thinking about buying solar batteries a bit of a testing ground to see whether this is a solution and whether something else has to be done.’’

‘‘We’re just at a time leading into an election when lots of promises are being made.’’

‘‘I’ll be interested in it and watching it closely as I imagine many people who have got solar on their homes will, because it is that missing link at the moment,’’ she said.

Under the proposed scheme, home owners can get a 50 per cent rebate for installing a battery storage unit, capped at $4838 in the first year and tapering down to $3714 by 2026 with the price of batteries expected to come down.

— With AAP