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.
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 Monday 14 June 2021 at 5pm local Melbourne time.
Questions relating to this EOI will close on Friday 4 June 2021 at 5pm local Melbourne time.
Before you get started, please review the updated application guidelines, noting the addendum to criteria 1.2 (b). They include guidance on explaining the benefits of aggregation in the EOI. Please ensure that you complete the attached cyber security questionnaire.
To start your application, please click on the Application Portal button below.
Sign up to mailing list
To register for updates about when the Solar Homes Battery Aggregation Pilot will launch, please enter your details below.
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 .
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.
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?
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.
As per the website applications for the Solar Homes Program Battery Aggregation Pilot will close on Monday 14 June at 5pm local Melbourne time.
Each approved project will be allocated a number of rebates based on the strength of the proposal from a pool of 2,000 rebates. There is one rebate per customer.
All EOI responses are to be completed using the tender platform. Any supporting documents (as outlined in the portal) will be accepted as attachments.
This relates to any costs to the customer for participation in the program.
Finalised audited reports are strongly preferred. As such audited financial reports from FY17/18, 18/19, and 19/20 will be accepted.
As stated in the guidelines, the preference is for audited reports however, unaudited finalised reports will be accepted. Solar Victoria may request, during the assessment process, that unaudited financial reports be audited and resubmitted.
A description of the financial model of the aggregation project including a breakdown of which value stream and markets the project wishes to participate in. Please identify assumptions that underpin the proposed financial model.
There is no value difference between aggregated and non-aggregated battery rebates, currently at $4,174.00. Please note that any changes to that figure will be released in a timely manner.
The current Solar Homes battery rebate is conditional on the supply and install cost of the battery system. The Current value of the rebate is up to $4,174 or 50% of the out of pocket cost to the household, whichever is lower.
Have an offering for Victorian households to participate in.
There is no preference for the type of projects. New discrete trials and ongoing programs will be considered.
Project data will be utilised by the department to ensure compliance for monitoring and evaluation and knowledge generation. Solar Victoria is currently in the discovery stage of identifying what data stream would be required of projects once this has been finalised it will be made available to all shortlisted projects during contract negotiation stage.
Applications that relate to separate projects each will progress to assessment conditional to meeting all eligibility requirements. If the applications relate to the same project, only one of the applications will be assessed and duplicates will be discarded.
No. The rebates can only be used to attract new households to install a battery and be part of an aggregation program.
The rebate's intention is to attract households to install a battery and join an aggregation program by reducing the out of pocket cost for households. Any new business model that can demonstrate greater consumer benefits and innovation whilst ensuring consumer protections will be considered.
Commercial in confidence disclaimer
The questions raised by all Applicants and the answers provided by the Department will be issued to all Applicants on our website unless they are considered as commercial in confidence. If an Applicant’s question is commercial in confidence, the Applicant must mark their questions as “commercial in confidence”. Once the Department receives a commercial in confidence question, the Department will assess the nature of the question and determine whether the question is commercial in confidence. If the Department believes the question is commercial in confidence, the Department will only provide the answer to the Applicant that raised the question. If the Department does not believe the question is commercial in confidence, the Department will inform the Applicant in which case the Applicant can either withdraw the entire question without an answer being provided by the Department or withdraw the claim for commercial in confidence in which case the question and the answer will be published to all Applicants
Reviewed 04 June 2021