Victorian State Budget includes 4,500 interest-free loans of up to $8,800 for home battery storage

    Victorians looking to move to renewable energy and reduce their power bills have enjoyed The Solar Homes Program for a number of years and in this week’s state budget, it was announced that this will continue going forward.

    With more than 1 in 4 households now enjoying rooftop solar in Australia, there’s a real shift to advance home battery storage and in this area, we see the biggest change to the program.

    The battery rebate program will continue to accelerate renewable energy uptake with a shift in the program from rebates to interest-free loans. The budget has allocated funding for the delivery of 4,500 interest-free loans of up to $8,800 each to be delivered through the Solar Homes Program.

    There have been $16 million dollars has been allocated to enable the delivery of the interest-free loan program for 2023-24.

    Applications for battery rebates will no longer be accepted from 30 June, with the loan offering to be launched after 1 July 2023, once the program design is complete.

    As someone who leveraged The Solar Homes Program to get a 6.5kW solar system on our roof, I’m ready for the next component, a battery to store the energy from the sun. To date, I’ve watched the cost of home storage change over time, at the highest point, a Tesla Powerwall 2 costs $20,000 installed. With a purchase price that high, it really made the case for ROI a difficult one. Thankfully prices have come down since then to around A$15,000 installed.

    An A$8,800 loan would see you needing to find just $6,200 out of pocket and as long as you can manage the repayments, you could start to realise the lower energy bills sooner, rather than later. Tesla offers a battery warranty of 10 years, but adds an additional 5 years to that if you enrol in the Virtual Power Plant.

    The economics and payback period will vary between households, heavily based on the amount of energy you use, how much solar you have and what rate feed-in-tariff you get for sending power back to the grid, something that continues to fall. As this reduces, storing and using the power you capture makes more economic sense, on top of the benefit of being resilient to blackouts.

    One of the conditions of the battery rebate program was that you couldn’t have used the Solar Home Program for their solar rebate which we, any many others did, which meant we were out of luck and as motivated as I am to get a battery, paying the full amount of pocket hasn’t made sense to date.

    This new program of a zero-interest loan makes a lot of sense and if the terms and conditions are right, this is likely our entry point to home battery storage.

    At the time of writing, there are 786 solar battery rebates of $2,950 available on the Solar Victoria Website.

    Any Rebate applications received prior to 30 June will be processed and those approved will be provided with adequate time to have their battery installed and rebate paid. Solar Victoria is working towards a seamless transition from one incentive to the other and program design is already underway.

    Applications for the Solar for Business program will be open until 30 June, bringing the program to the end of its expected delivery timeline. 

    Solar panel rebates and interest-free loans will continue this year with 53,000 rebates allocated for delivery. The rebate value will remain at $1,400 for the rebate and an additional $1,400 for the interest-free loan. Hot water rebates of $1,000 will continue to be delivered with 4,500 available in 2023-24.

    Applications submitted prior to 30 June will be processed and approved applicants will have 120 days to have their system installed. The program has seen good uptake across the state and has supported Victorian businesses to save up to $2,000 per year on their energy bills. The recent incentives announced by the Commonwealth Government will see continued support for businesses delivered in the renewable energy space.

    Since 2018, the Solar Homes Program has been delivering to help more Victorian households to take the first steps towards electrification, take control of their energy bills and move to a cleaner renewable energy future through the installation of solar panels, batteries, and hot water. We look forward to furthering this work in 2023-24.

    If you have questions about solar batteries, Solar Victoria has a great FAQ section here.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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