With tariff structures combining with abundant sunshine and world-leading rooftop solar penetration levels, Australia has emerged as a leading distributed battery storage market. As goes Australia, so goes the global market? This is less than clear and pv magazine is charting the progress of storage in the so-called sunburnt country in a special article series. The market, the grid, the players, the technology and the economics.
The Australian electricity storage market “is on the rise,” tips IHS, in a release today. The analyst group says that the number of units installed annually will increase ten-fold in 2016, seeing the market in the top five for energy storage.
Major West Australian solar and storage provider Infinite Energy pushes customers towards energy independence as battery storage moves into the market. With solar feed-in not provided to many commercial customers, anticipates steep demand for Tesla PowerPack.
The Australian Solar Council has launched a campaign to challenge a proposed doubling of grid connection charges for solar households in Western Australia. An annual connection charge of AU$800 (US$585) has been proposed by government-owned utility Synergy.
The ways in which Australian utilities are engaging with distributed battery storage and the proactive role of the regulator points to the market being a dynamic one. Bloomberg New Energy Finance believes that because of this, other markets will look to see what shape the Australian storage market takes over the next few years.
Encouraging households to add sufficient storage to their PV arrays to disconnect from the electricity grid may leave an unfair burden of high utility payments to those left connected. Ric Brazzale, the Managing Director of Green Energy Trading says that a large movement of households off the grid may be bad for consumers without necessarily doing anything for the environment.
The state of Western Australia is “weeks away” from delivering a regulatory solution to allow battery storage systems to be installed and, importantly, to feed electricity back into the grid. The move has been heralded by state Energy Minister and Treasurer Mike Nahan who noted that solar PV will likely account for the bulk of generating capacity added to the states grids in the future.
Australian Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt appears to be shaping towards initiating subsidies for the installation of battery storage. The Minister addressed attendees on the opening day of the All Energy trade show in Melbourne yesterday, indicating that new programs to support cleantech deployment may be forthcoming, declaring that energy storage is the new black.
U.S. microinverter supplier Enphase has selected Australia to launch its new AC Battery product. The Australian PV market has presumably been selected because of its high levels of residential PV penetration, falling feed in rates for solar electricity, feed in limitations in some states, and an expected wave of consumers looking for more value from their PV array as highly subsidized historic FITs expire.
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