Bushfire-affected South Australia homeowners to get free sonnen batteries

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From pv magazine Australia.

South Australians rebuilding their homes in the wake of a cataclysmic bushfire season will be offered free battery storage systems through a program launched by the state government and German manufacturer sonnen. The program will benefit any of the 188 families who lost their homes in the state during the devastating fires and who opt to include rooftop solar in their rebuilds.

State minister for energy Dan van Holst Pellekaan today said installing batteries as part of rebuilds would help make post-bushfire homes more sustainable and resilient and offer them access to cheaper electricity. “People who lost their homes in the fires need a helping hand to re-establish themselves and a battery worth more than $10,000 (US$6,630) will reduce their future electricity bills whilst adding value to their new home,” he said.

The initiative will also ensure energy security for properties in vulnerable or remote parts of the grid, said the state minister. “Kangaroo Island and parts of the Adelaide Hills can have outages due to storms so rebuilding with batteries will make households more energy resilient by improving reliability and affordability,” said Van Holst Pellekaan.

sonnen commitment

For sonnen, which set up an assembly and production facility at the former Holden car manufacturing site in Adelaide in 2018, the program is an opportunity to support the South Australian community after the fires. “This initiative will help add significant value to those rebuilding their homes, alleviating pressures of energy costs and providing them with the control to manage their energy needs more independently,” said sonnen Australia CEO Nathan Dunn.

The German company’s decision to establish the plant was driven by the launch of the South Australian government’s Home Battery Scheme, which aims to install 40,000 systems across the state by offering subsidies. Uptake of the program is reported to have risen in recent months and participants have cut their electricity bills significantly, sometimes to almost nothing according to Van Holst Pellekaan.

In another community rebuild initiative stretching across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the Resilient Energy Collective is looking to install standalone solar and battery systems at up to 100 sites affected by the bushfires and the floods that followed them. Funded by software billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife Annie, the venture is rolling out pre-fabricated solar arrays made by Sydney-based 5B as well as Tesla batteries in communities disconnected from the electricity grid.