Victoria administers its renewable energy incentives to consumers through Solar Victoria. From July 1st, 2023, the programs were revised and a home battery storage rebate became a 4-year interest-free loan for those homeowners who invest.
At the time I wrote about the new solar battery loan program and highlighted the big flaw in the program.
Under the program’s previous eligibility criteria, it listed the combined household taxable income of all owners to be less than A$180,000. With another criterion listing the maximum property value as $3 million dollars, these figured didn’t align well, with those paying off an asset that expensive, needing to earn much more than $180k to afford the repayments.
After pointing this out on July 1st, I’m really glad that this feedback was taken on board and while it took almost 3 months, the threshold has today been increased.
The new combined household taxable income of all owners is now increased by $30,000 to a maximum of $210,000 per year.
What this increase in threshold does, is make the scheme available for many more homeowners, many of them which earn decent incomes, but not at a level where purchasing a $15-$20,000 home battery is inviting.
If Australia, and particularly Victoria, wants to reduce our demand for coal-fired power, then having more homes capture (with solar) and store energy (with a battery) close to where the energy is ultimately consumed, is the best method to reduce emissions. For this to be achieved at scale, the Governments (in all states) need to have the right policy positions in place, in which battery costs remain relatively high.
Increased adoption, means increased scale for the manufacturers of batteries, which ultimately allows for an economy of scale to reduce prices and make them available to even more Australians.
There are currently 3,952 solar battery loans of up to $8,800 remaining for 2023-2024 which shows just 548 have been taken up in almost 2 months, which supports my theory the threshold was too low.
The good news is, this threshold has also been updated for those looking to put solar on their roof, or upgrade their hot water system to a more efficient heat pump and receive a rebate.
One of the most popular models of Home Battery Storage is the Tesla Powerwall which has a price of around A$12,000 and depending on installation, could be around $15,000 all said and done. Taking the cost of the battery and reducing the up-front cost to $8,788 – $6,200 dramatically changes the equation.
The loan over 4 years still needs to be paid back obviously, but this is definitely a far more approachable number and is likely to dramatically increase home storage adoption, particularly for those who have already paid off their solar investment.
More information at Solar Victoria.