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Solar Homes Program Battery Aggregation Pilot

Solar worker installing solar battery
Solar worker installing solar battery

Unlocking the value of battery aggregation for Victorian households.

Information for Victorian households

Looking for the battery aggregation information for Victorian households? 

Find out more

Introduction 

From 2020-21 the Solar Homes Program battery rebate stream will expand to offer an aggregation option for Victorians.  

This will initially be delivered as a pilot program. The program will work with approved aggregation partners and aims to understand, broaden and promote the benefits of battery ownership and aggregation to Victorian consumers, and in doing so, further support Victoria’s transition to a renewable energy future.   

Objectives 

Developing an Approved aggregation provider list will enable Solar Victoria to pilot battery aggregation, to inform the next steps in the delivery of Victoria’s Battery Aggregation Strategy

It will also pave the way for future virtual power plants (VPPs) and microgrids which will deliver broader benefits to Victorian householders and across the entire energy sector.  

Expressions of interest (EOI)

Solar Victoria invites battery aggregators with a strong focus on consumer protection and education, and proven capability to express interest for inclusion on Solar Victoria’s Approved aggregation provider list

Becoming an approved provider under the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Program is a unique opportunity for established aggregators to expand their customer base and reach new consumers through the program’s battery rebate stream. 

As an approved battery aggregation provider, you will:  

  • have access to rebates provided by the Victorian Government 
  • have your services included on Solar Victoria’s website 

You will also benefit from a consumer education campaign to be delivered by Solar Victoria and designed to increase consumer understanding and confidence in battery aggregation programs to deliver financial savings, help stabilise the grid and ultimately drive the acceleration of household participation in battery aggregation programs into the future. 

Online information session

On Wednesday 5 May we held an information session for interested potential applicants to learn more about the Battery Aggregation Pilot program. The session included an overview of the EOI criteria and notes on how to apply. The presentation is available for download.

How to apply

Applications for the Solar Homes Program Battery Aggregation Pilot will close on Thursday 3 June at 5pm local Melbourne time.  

Questions relating to this EOI will close on Thursday 27 May 5pm local Melbourne time.  

To register any questions, please email solar.programs@delwp.vic.gov.au

Before you get started, please review the application guidelines below, which includes guidance on explaining the benefits of aggregation in the EOI, and complete the attached cyber security questionnaire.  

To start your application, please click on the Application Portal button below. 

Application portal

Contact

For enquiries about the EOI process, or the Solar Homes Battery Aggregation Pilot, please email  solar.programs@delwp.vic.gov.au

Sign up to mailing list

To register for updates about when the Solar Homes Battery Aggregation Pilot will launch, please enter your details below.  

FAQs

  • There is currently no target number of aggregation partners we will endorse in the first phase of this program. We anticipate it will be a small and tailored list to enable us to work collaboratively with projects that are ‘shovel ready’ and already ‘in field’. Based on the number of EOI responses, Solar Victoria will select the projects that best meet all assessment criteria.

  • We expect to review the program, the benefits realised and the uptake, and from here, make an informed decision on expansion and/or next steps within the first 12 months from the program opening.  

  • If your aggregation project is successfully shortlisted after the EOI process, rebates will only be available to households that sign up to a project that incorporates and installs systems on our approved products list. Households that install non-approved systems and participate in your aggregation project will not be able to benefit from our rebate.  

  • The current eligibility criteria to access a Solar Victoria Battery rebate will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. The results of this aggregation program will inform the design of the future rebate delivery approach as well as eligibility criteria that will facilitate household’s access to rebates.

  • At the time of writing, Solar Victoria is managing the release of battery rebates to ensure there will be rebates available once aggregation projects are made public on the Solar Victoria website.  

    We will continue to work with our colleagues across government to refine the program and look for ways to expand the number of rebates available in line with demand. However, at this point, the number of rebates remains unchanged.

  • The current number of available rebates is based on previous budget estimates. Based on current market trends and data, we are working with our colleagues to review the allocation available and identify alternate options to adjust our allocation in lieu of the State Budget progressing to schedule.

  • The number of rebates per program will be decided once the EOI process is complete in September 2021 and will be informed by project scope and size.

  • The current battery rebate program has been designed alongside our existing offer. The current eligibility criteria to access a Solar Victoria Battery rebate will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, however the future design of the scheme will certainly be informed by this EOI process, the delivery and the integration of aggregation offers. 

  • Successful aggregation projects will be required to accept and adhere to Solar Homes consumer protections (see Appendices 1). This does not exclude the incorporation of additional protections that may be embedded in the design of your aggregation project.  

  • Yes. At the heart of this work is the consumer and understanding the benefits consumers can expect to receive by participating in aggregation. Solar Victoria recognises there are multiple program approaches and will consider whether a battery aggregation program places a strong focus on consumer protection and benefits, including the ease with which a consumer may enter and exit programs. See also ‘Notes on Benefits’ p.5  

  • We require each provider to propose which level of knowledge, data and insights they will be able to share with Solar Victoria. Solar Victoria requires each provider to demonstrate that their aggregation program is delivering measurable benefits as detailed in their EOI response, including benefits to participating households and the broader Victorian community.  

  • The data collected will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the Solar Homes Battery Program in enhancing benefits for households and the Victorian community. It will also be used to inform the future iteration of the aggregation offer under Solar Homes and to identify areas of improvement. The data collected will be treated confidentially by the Government.  

  • The Solar Victoria approved battery list is a list of overall system solutions (battery + inverter+ smart controller). The list is a collaborative product between the SA government’s SA-Home Battery Scheme (SA-HBS) and Solar Victoria. Currently, while Solar Victoria is setting up an assessment process inhouse, all assessments are carried out by the SA-HBS. If there is a particular system combination(s) that a retailer would like to register, this can be done via the link provided. Furthermore, the minimum eligibility criteria for equipment can be found in the SA-HBS portal

    View the application page.

  • The Solar Homes battery list is updated fortnightly, should a system be added to the SA battery list, it will be reflected on the Solar Victoria list within 14 days.  

  • At present we are open on the battery capacity and there is not a specific target. The battery systems on our approved list include products that encompass a wide range of storage sizes. 

  • A minimum threshold was introduced to facilitate the installation of battery systems for households that have larger PV systems and are likely to export more to the grid, compared to households with smaller PV systems that tend to self-consume more. There are no plans to reduce or increase this threshold at present. 

  • We are developing a dedicated communication and engagement strategy to help raise consumer awareness around batteries and aggregation, and what a good aggregation program looks like. 

  • This could involve different means and each aggregation provider will need to define their strategy. This could for example include statistical analysis of bills savings, breakdown of revenue to the consumer including fixed instalments and performance-based revenue, etc.  

    The Guidelines below include notes on a range of benefits we would expect to see in applications.   

    Criteria Example Guidance notes
    Household benefits  Level of access required 

    Articulate the level of access required of the behind the meter DER asset and the household, including: 

    • How many times a year the DER asset will be controlled; 
    • Maximum level of throughput each access would require; and 
    • What, if any household loads will be controlled. 
    Technology requirements 

    Clearly articulate if there are any technological restrictions.  

    • Is there a list of specific products that are eligible in the Aggregation Project? 
    • Are there any additional devices such as a gateway or control devices required? 
    • Would consumers be able to switch to a different aggregation program using the technology used in the Aggregation Project? 
    Consumer benefits 

    Outline the net benefit to a participating household, including: 

    • How does the aggregation offer compare to VDO or current retail offer – whichever provides the greatest benefit; 
    • When is a new tariff applied;  
    • What are the supply fees; 
    • What are the consumer payments per control event or monthly/quarterly fees; and 
    • Terms of contracts. 

    Note: demonstrated financial benefit to participants must be clearly articulated in responses and in consumer contracts. 

    Victorian Public benefits  Demonstrated ability to support the grid  How the Aggregation Project demonstrates industry innovation, the energy transition and can support the network as DER uptake rapidly increases.  
    Demonstrated ability to reduce energy bills 

    How the Aggregation Project will reduce the cost of energy. 

    Additional public benefits  Describe any additional public benefits, such as how such an Aggregation Project could increase bushfire resilience if implemented in high risk communities.  

Reviewed 10 May 2021

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