South Australian battery uptake reduces demand on grid: AEMO

AEMO wants new powers to regulate home solar output in WA.

Utility-scale and household batteries are significantly reducing demand on the South Australian grid a new report shows.

According to data released by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Tesla’s world-leading ‘big battery’ and the SA government’s household battery rebate scheme are helping to reduce power prices in the state.

The South Australian Home Battery Scheme offers rebates to around 40,000 households. They can receive grants up to $6,000 for a home solar battery like Tesla Powerwall 2 or Enphase.

Household batteries can slash power bills

The report states the Marshall Government’s $100 million solar battery program will help people slash their electricity bills.

Home batteries are reducing the strain on the power grid.

Home batteries are reducing the strain on the power grid.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is supporting the scheme. Households can apply for tailored finance to help them purchase new or additional solar panels. This is in addition to the home battery system.

Meanwhile, the ground-breaking 100 MW Tesla Powerpack system at Hornsdale Power Reserve is helping support and stabilise the state’s electricity grid. This is currently the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.

Distributed energy resources proving their power

Solar and wind energy are known as distributed energy resources (DER) because they are spread out across the grid. They are therefore transforming the way South Australia uses power. In 2017-2018:

  • 930 MW of solar PV and 15 MW of battery systems were installed.
  • Rooftop solar contributed 51 MW more at underlying peak than it did the previous year.
  • Annual energy use in SA stayed flat at 12,203 GWh.
  • This figure should stay flat for the next decade, despite population growth.

Peak grid demand in SA has been pushed from 6.30pm in 2016-17 to 7.30pm Adelaide time in 2017-18. When combined with energy storage, solar panels could also cause a further shift.

The report also predicts times of negative grid demand in the future. This should happen by 2023-24 if solar growth continues.

Solar generation soars in South Australia

Over the next decade, AEMO believes South Australia will lead Australia on solar power.

The report notes SA will have the highest ratio of rooftop solar to operational consumption of all National Electricity Market areas.

This is because of the state’s large uptake of solar panels. Good solar resources and relatively low electricity use also contribute to the state’s solar success.

The Home Battery rebate will be available to all South Australians for household battery components only. Battery size and household income determine the size of the rebate.