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FAQs: Solar batteries

There have been a number of questions from members of the public about the Solar Homes Package, how the rebates work and the impact for individuals, installers and retailers.

For the Householder

  • Like many new technologies, the price of batteries is coming down, however the Solar Homes’ solar battery rebate is making them more affordable, however they are a significant investment. If you are interested in buying a battery to support your solar PV system research the topic in-depth, go for quality over price and have a clear understanding that it is what you really need, and can afford.   

  • Batteries must be on Solar Victoria’s approved Products List. They must have a minimum whole of system warranty of five years, with a five-year warranty on workmanship, and a minimum performance warranty of seven years under daily-cycling operation. 

    Product manufacturer, supplier, retailer and/or installer offers end-of-life management program with service provider/s certified to “AS/NZS 5377: 2013 

  • Battery installers must hold a current Clean Energy Council accreditation and Battery Endorsement (Including “Work Safely at Heights” certification), an unrestricted A Grade electrical licence issued by Energy Safe Victoria or equivalent, no prosecutions registered with Worksafe Victoria (or equivalent authority in another Australian jurisdiction) in the past three years, a construction industry ’White Card’ and training by the Original Equipment Manufacturer on the specific energy storage solution that is being installed.   

    These systems have been assessed for capabilities including performance, safety, internet accessibility, security, and remote registration, monitoring and control and will enable the battery to provide network support services, take part in virtual power plants and/or future Distributed Energy Resource markets. 

    This approach to the battery program is intended to maximise program benefits including savings to participating households, reduced costs for non-solar customers, and support the future grid.    

  • Do your research and learn about batteries to decide whether a battery is right for you. Contact several solar retailers for a quote and they will put the quote in the Solar Victoria Retailers Portal. You lodge your eligibility confirmation details in the Solar Victoria Customer Portal and indicate your preferred quote.  

    When your eligibility is confirmed your installation can go ahead. The rebate will be taken from the invoiced cost and the retailer reimbursed. 

  • No. Only one rebate is available under the program.

  • A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of individual distributed energy resources, such as solar PV and batteries that are located in different places. Through aggregation in a VPP, these systems may be then be able to participate in trading in the electricity market and providing network services and grid support.

    Participating in a VPP may provide additional revenue to battery owners and help lower electricity costs for all consumers through reduced wholesale electricity costs, reduced ancillary service costs, and through the provision of network support.

    Participating in a VPP may provide additional revenue to customers and help lower electricity costs for all consumers through reduced wholesale electricity costs, reduced ancillary service costs, and through the provision of network support.

  • Batteries are required to be on Solar Victoria’s Approved Battery List comprising energy storage solutions that are ‘Virtual Power Plant (VPP) capable’ with technical capabilities aligned with the Australian Energy Market Operators National Electricity Market VPP Demonstration Program Minimum Capability Specifications. These systems are on the Clean Energy Council’s list of Approved Energy Storage Devices and have been assessed for capabilities including performance, safety, internet accessibility, security, and remote registration, monitoring and control, enabling batteries to provide network support services, participate in virtual power plants and/or future Distributed Energy Resource marketplaces.

  • Some in the solar and energy industry say the uncontrolled addition of batteries can influence grid stability, however Solar Victoria’s battery program is designed to address this by limiting the number of applications to specific growth area postcodes identified with industry and energy distributors.  

  • Solar storage batteries must be installed by A Grade electricians with a CEC endorsement for solar batteries. Safety is the responsibility of the installer and the manufacturer. Newly installed batteries must also be signed off by a Licensed Electrical Inspector. Solar Victoria’s safety inspection program will include battery installations.  

  • Consumers should carefully consider what benefits a battery could provide and the associated costs. The program requires installers to provide estimates of the costs and value of having a battery in their circumstance.

    Before applying, it is recommended that households should also:

  • The Solar Homes battery rebate requires households to be connected to the grid and to stay connected for a period of ten years.  The Solar Homes battery program requires retailers to obtain a connection pre-approval from the Distribution Network Service Provider (DNSP) prior to installing a battery to ensure that the local network can safely sustain the addition of a battery.

  • If you want a battery to deal with this situation, seek advice from an installer who will develop options that suits your needs. 

  • If you want a battery to deal with this situation, seek advice from an installer who will develop options that suits your needs. 

  • This will depend on the nature of the VPP. These arrangements are outside the scope of the Solar Homes Program.

  • Yes. This is negotiated with the VPP provider and/or your electricity retailer.   

  • This will depend on the nature of the VPP.

  • Off-grid installations are not part of the program 

  • No, the eligibility criteria for the battery rebate requires an existing solar PV system that has not been funded through the Solar Homes Program.

  • The eligibility criteria for the Solar Homes Program battery rebate outlines that you need to have an existing solar PV system that was installed prior to applying for a battery rebate.

    You can apply for a battery rebate so long as your existing solar PV was installed prior to getting the quote for your battery.

  • VPP is an acronym for Virtual Power Plant. As defined by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), battery systems that are ‘VPP ready’ meet a set of technology requirements that include:

    • being able to respond to remote requests to charge/discharge the battery (e.g. requests to charge battery at peak solar photovoltaic [PV] export time);
    • being able to communicate state of charge, voltage and measure power flow at battery terminals (e.g. communicate to the AEMO on battery charge level to assist forecasting); and
    • being able to assist network security and reliability (e.g. advanced ride through settings to support system security in the event of unscheduled outages).

For the Installer

  • Retailers are obliged to check with the relevant DNSP whether a battery pre-approval is required. If pre-approval is required, retailers are obliged to obtain pre-approval from the local DNSP before completing the Provider Statement on the Solar Victoria Portal. DNSPs need to consider the total size of the proposed system and whether it can be connected to export electricity at that location without compromising the local network. At some locations, the DNSP will need to set technical requirements including limits on exports or system size, to maintain power quality, reliability and system security. In some cases, approval may not be granted. The pre-approval process varies between different DNSPs. Note that depending on the size of the total system, a negotiated connection may be required which could take up to 65 days and incur a charge.

Reviewed 21 June 2021