Although solar batteries can help you save money in the long run, the initial investment cost for them is a barrier to entry for some people. Much like solar systems, it isn’t a light decision to make considering how expensive the upfront costs can be, even if you make the argument that solar batteries will eventually lower your utility bills.
Fortunately, some States and Territories of Australia offer solar battery incentives to ease the financial burden of installation.
Solar battery incentives come in varying forms, including rebates, discounts and even loans to help finance the upfront purchase. Schemes are available in NSW, the NT, SA, Victoria and the ACT for residents who meet the eligibility criteria.
In this article, we list the currently available solar battery incentives and discounts in Australia for each State and Territory. We highlight the programs, how they work, how to apply for them, and who is eligible.
Read on for everything you need to know about solar battery rebates and incentives in Australia.
Table of Contents
What Is a Solar Battery Rebate?
Solar battery rebates in Australia are partial refunds on the installation cost of a solar battery storage. Rebates are just one kind of solar energy incentive which State and Federal governments can offer to encourage Australian residents to invest in renewable energy.
Not all solar PV system installations include solar battery storage, but it’s one way to reduce reliance on the electricity grid and encourage energy independence. As such, these rebates and incentives are the government’s initiative to assist in the switch to clean and renewable energy through the use of solar batteries.
As solar batteries are not an inexpensive upgrade to your solar system, government incentives which reduce how much a solar battery costs makes them significantly more accessible by reducing the initial investment cost.
There is also a difference between incentives and rebates. Although the two are used interchangeably in casual conversation, a ‘rebate’ specifically refers to a partial refund once the item is purchased. On the other hand, incentives may reduce the upfront cost of the purchase via discount or subsidy.
While rebates offer you a partial refund once the item is purchased, in this case a solar battery, an incentive will provide you with an upfront discount. Although there are slight differences between rebates and incentives, both aim to make solar power more financially accessible by reducing the investment cost.
Other schemes which incentivise solar battery storage installation include loans, discounts and Virtual Power Plant programs.
Note that a solar battery rebate or incentive is separate from a solar panel rebate or subsidy scheme. While many households look at installing solar battery back-up at the same time as their solar panels, many incentives require you to have an existing solar system installed.
What Solar Battery Rebates or Incentives Are Available in WA?
Unfortunately, the West Australian Government does not offer any form of solar battery rebates, subsidies, financing programs, or loan offers for solar batteries.
However, a pilot Virtual Power Plant program named Project Symphony is launching for residents in select areas. Only eligible householders in Atwell, Harrisdale and Piara have been contacted to participate. However, if successful, more WA homeowners may have the chance to receive a solar battery rebate for future participation in a virtual power plant network.
What Solar Battery Rebates or Incentives Are Available in NSW?
Smart Distributed Batteries Project (SolarHUB Virtual Power Plant)
The NSW Government has a Smart Distributed Batteries (SDB) project, which comes with the development of a 6 MW Virtual Power Plant (VPP). SolarHub offers battery installation discounts to roughly 650 residential and small business customers to complement this.
This discount is based on sustainable output. For instance, a 10 kWh solar battery that transfers up to 5 kWh of power is eligible for a $4,950 discount. This means solar batteries that can transfer more power will be eligible for larger discounts. On the other hand, systems generating less energy will have lower discount amounts provided to them.
Homes or businesses located in the following regions are eligible:
- Shoalhaven City Council
- Eurobodalla Shire Council
- Bega Valley Shire Council
- Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council
- Yass Valley Council (located within 100 km of Canberra CBD)
- Snowy Monaro Council (located within 100 km of Canberra CBD)
Application can be completed by contacting SolarHub for a free quote.
Empowering Homes Solar Battery Loan
The Empowering Homes Solar Battery Loan is an interest-free loan for installing solar battery systems. Those who apply for this loan may be granted an interest-free loan of up to $14,000 for a solar and battery system or $9,000 for retrofitting a battery system to an existing solar system.
Note: The Empowering Homes Solar Battery Loan scheme ended on 31st July 2022. There is currently no replacement scheme in place.
To be eligible, homeowners should be residing in the following postcodes, have an annual household income of $180,000 or less, legally own the grid-connected house, reside in it, and have authority to install the system, as well as satisfy the loan criteria.
To take advantage of the offer, interested homeowners should contact any of the Approved Suppliers to discuss their needs, have several detailed quotes organised, and head to the portal managed by Plenti to complete the loan application.
What Solar Battery Rebates and Incentives Are Available in the NT?
Home and Business Battery Scheme
The Home and Business Battery Scheme is a grant that can be applied to install solar batteries and inverters in the NT. Eligible homeowners can gain access to a grant worth $450 per kilowatt-hour of usable solar battery capacity, up to a maximum of $6,000.
This scheme is available to NT residents until 2024. Since 02 August 2021, changes to the scheme meant that the grant would only be available for solar battery systems found on an approved list that have been assessed as Virtual Power Plant (VPP) capable.
Registered owners of a residential property in the NT, registered NT businesses, and not-for-profit organisations operating in the NT in owned or leased premises are eligible for the grant. The properties can either be owner-occupied or used as an investment, but only one application per homeowner and property is allowed. Homeowners who also own a business can apply for a grant for each.
To apply for the grant, get a quote from a qualified solar battery installer. The certification requirements can be checked at the NT WorkSafe website. After you have selected your preferred quote, apply online to receive a unique voucher.
What Solar Battery Rebates and Incentives Are Available in SA?
Home Battery Scheme
The South Australian Home Battery Scheme gives households access to the state government’s subsidies and loans of as much as $3,000 to pay for the installation of home solar battery systems.
Note: all SA Home Battery Scheme subsidies have been allocated as of 31st July 2022 and applications are no longer being accepted.
Although the subsidy is available for all homeowners in South Australia, energy concession holders are granted a higher subsidy, which ensures that low-income households can still access the assistance scheme. Energy concession holders are subsidised $250 per kWh, while all other householders are subsidised for $150 per kWh. The total subsidy available for each battery installation is $2,000.
Despite the subsidy’s exclusivity towards solar batteries, homeowners may still apply for financing to purchase new or additional solar panels through the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
To take advantage of the subsidy, simply accept a quote for an eligible home solar battery system. The system provider will then send you a link to the Plenti website, where you can apply for the subsidy. The amount of subsidy your installation is eligible for will be automatically deducted from the quote given by the system provider.
What Solar Battery Rebates or Incentives Are Available in Victoria?
Victorian Solar Battery Rebate
The solar battery rebates are available for all Victorian postcodes, and applicants can arrange to have their solar panels, and solar batteries installed simultaneously. Although it should be noted that applicants can only apply for one Solar Victoria rebate.
There is a long list of eligibility conditions for the Victorian solar battery rebate. Among the key requirements are:
- The existence of solar PV panels with a capacity of at least 5kW on the property or a property that is in the process of having one installed in combination with the installation of the solar battery.
- The solar battery is found on the list of Solar Victoria’s Approved Battery List and the absence of any energy storage system.
- Further eligibility conditions can be found here.
To apply for the rebate, obtain a written quote from an authorised solar retailer and get pre-approval from your Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP). Then get your eligibility number, QR Code, and prepare any documentation to prove eligibility. After all these, you can arrange for the installation.
Victorian Virtual Power Plant (VPP) Trial
The Virtual Power Plant Pilot Program (VPP) is a new initiative developed by Solar Victoria that aims to connect nearby solar-enabled homes to share energy pools. Homes in these networks will be able to sell excess energy they generate or utilise cheaper solar energy their neighbours have in excess.
Virtual power plants are a revolutionary new way for homes in a community to help each other save on their bills. Homes that produce far more solar energy than they use can supply it to people within their network. A virtual power plant essentially acts as a large pool of solar batteries. The goal for these virtual power plants is to enable communities to generate a sustainable amount of energy without having to pay for money drawn from the grid.
This trial includes a flat $4,174 allowance that is put towards the initial costs of having a solar battery installed for your home, enabling you to participate in this trial program.
You’ll need to confirm your eligibility to apply for the Victorian Virtual Power Plant trial. The eligibility requirements for the VPP trial program are:
- The property has a pre-existing 5kW solar system
- Distributed Network Service Provider approval to connect a solar battery to the grid
- The combined taxable income of the household is under $180,000 p/a
- Having an established home valued at under $3 million
- The property address hasn’t received or taken part in a previous Solar Homes Program
What Solar Battery Rebates and Incentives Are Available in the ACT?
Next Generation Energy Storage
The Next Generation Energy Storage program provides a rebate to ACT households or businesses planning to have a solar battery storage unit connected to a new or existing rooftop solar PV system.
The battery rebate for households is $3,500 (excluding GST), or 50% of the solar battery’s price (excluding GST), whichever is lower. The rebate is available until 2026.
Homeowners and businesses can benefit from the rebate within the ACT, including those in Hall, Tharwa, and Oaks Estate, but not Jervis Bay Territory. To be eligible for the rebate, the new solar battery must be coupled with solar panels connected to the grid and should be a new system that has not yet benefited from the program.
To apply for the program, contact one of the listed retailers and discuss your solar battery requirements with them. After they figure out the best system for your needs, you will receive a rebate from the retailer, which automatically includes the reduction on your quote. Retailers not included in the list will not grant customers access to the rebate.
Sustainable Household Scheme
The Sustainable Household Scheme is an interest-free loan scheme that allows eligible residents to borrow up to $15,000 to help overcome the initial investment hurdle of solar panels, solar batteries and other solar products.
While solar energy is an excellent way to save money long-term, the initial investment is often a barrier to entry. Solar appliances are often very expensive, which is why the Sustainable Household Scheme was introduced. Residents in Canberra will have the ability to borrow up to $15,000 that can be repaid at their discretion over a ten-year period.
The solar items the Sustainable Household Scheme covers include:
- Rooftop solar panels
- Solar battery storage systems
- Hot water heat pumps
People living in the ACT can apply for the Sustainable Household Scheme through Brighte, provided they are eligible. To be eligible for the scheme, you need to own a home in the ACT, hold a current driver’s licence, and meet Brighte’s lending criteria.
How Long Do Solar Batteries Last?
Home solar battery units are generally expected to last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. As such, in the duration of a solar system’s 20-30 year lifespan, you will eventually have to replace your solar battery.
The length of a solar battery’s life is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a battery, alongside how long a solar battery can power a home in a blackout, the efficiency and the capacity of the battery.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace Solar Batteries?
Solar batteries cost anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000, depending on the model and capacity. Another key factor is the brand of solar battery chosen, since some are more cost-effective than others.
Do Solar Batteries Pay for Themselves?
It’s possible for a solar battery to pay for itself, depending on several factors, including how much electricity your household uses and the battery model. A solar battery rebate or incentive can help reduce the initial investment cost of the unit, reducing the payback period.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.