Australia's battery storage fleet surpassed the 1GWh milestone for the first time in 2021, with 756MWh of non-residential capacity – mostly utility-scale, front-of-the-meter projects.
Market intelligence specialist SunWiz said that non-residential battery system deployment was driven by the 450MWh Victorian Big Battery and the 150MWh Wandoan South BESS.
“With more large batteries currently under construction, 2022 is set for another big year,” said SunWiz.
State governments backed big batteries in a number of ways – through the creation of Renewable Energy Zones, power purchase agreements, funding contributions, and direct investment. But there were far fewer announcements of funding for utility-scale systems in 2021 compared to the year before.
However, a number of big batteries were announced in 2021. The announcements came from developers as solar projects started requiring storage, gentailers started looking to replace their coal generation fleets, network owners began addressing grid issues, and miners started taking charge of their power supplies.
SunWiz said the batteries started to increase in duration, with a few announcements of four-hour energy storage indicating that the focus is shifting to bulk energy storage. The residential battery storage market, meanwhile, remained steady in 2021, with 333MWh of systems joining the grid, bringing the cumulative tally in Australia to 2,657MWh.
As state governments backed residential battery storage deployment via rebates and zero-interest loans, Victoria grew to record levels and led the market at the state level, representing 32% of the total installed capacity in Australia. New South Wales came in second and South Australia came third.
Around 8% of all new PV systems installed in 2021 included batteries, down from the peak attachment rate of 12% in 2017, the analysts said. SunWiz has predicted that similar numbers will likely be seen in 2022. This would mean that the Australian market is due for another year of more than 1GWh of new system installations, despite the poor battery pricing outlook.
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