Australian homeowners install batteries at record rates, despite COVID
Australians have installed more than 31,000 batteries in homes around the country last year, up from 20% on 2019 according to analysis from solar and storage market analyst SunWiz.
The growth comes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic troubles that followed.
It also brings the culminative tally of solar storage systems installed in Australia to almost 110,000, including residential, commercial and large-scale or “big” batteries announced by state governments and private companies.
South Australia is leading the trend with just over a quarter (26%) of all big battery installations in 2020 occurring in the state.
SunWiz analysis found state government incentives played a major role in driving this technological trend.
Victoria and New South Wales were close behind with around a quarter (25.1% and 24.7% respectively) of all battery installations also occurring in each of those more populous states. On a per capita basis Queensland is lagging behind, with 9.6% of all batteries installed, despite being home to around a fifth (20.1%) of Australians and having a high proportion of solar panel installations.
“It was a surprisingly good year for battery installations in Australia,” SunWiz managing director Warwick Johnston says.
“Home battery systems proved particularly popular in South Australia where there is such high demand from homeowners that the state government had to reduce its subsidy in order to avoid overheating the market and exhausting available government funds too quickly.”
He adds that, in Victoria, the popularity of solar batteries for homes was so high the state government subsidy allocations were exhausted within minutes of each release. The situation was remedied when the government directed some COVID stimulus finding towards the sector.
“The popularity of batteries is strong even without state subsidies, particularly where homeowners can benefit financially by taking part in so-called ‘virtual power plants’ – which combine the power of individual batteries to support the energy market and network,” Warwick adds.
“In 2020 Australian’s continued to demonstrate a desire to reduce their power bills by making the most of the nation’s abundant and cheap solar power and empower themselves with a battery. Batteries also continue to demonstrate they can support the Australian electricity network.”
Roughly 9% of new home solar systems installed in 2020 included a battery, which is down from the high of 12% recorded in 2017 but an improvement on 2019’s 8%. The capacity of residential battery storage is also on the rise, up 27%, as the average battery size increased.
“This energy transformation in Australia is happening quickly and the continued increase in solar panels and batteries installed show Australians are enthusiastic about the benefits,” Warwick concludes.
In 2021, SunWiz forecasts an additional 33,000 home battery installations, plus an increase in grid-scale storage.