Australia is well on its way to “exceptional” growth in its battery market and a tripling of solar+storage installations this year, RenewEconomy concludes in its 2017 Battery Market Report.
The study, produced by Australian solar consultancy SunWiz, points to 6,750 battery installations across the country in 2016 compared to 500 in 2015, enough to drive installed capacity up to 52 megawatt-hours. “What makes it all the more impressive is that most installations occurred in the latter part of the year, setting up 2017 to be another year of remarkable growth,” said SunWiz Managing Director Warwick Johnston.
In the coming year, he expects 15% of new solar installations in Australia to include solar. And 70% of the households that already have solar onboard are planning to add battery capacity.
RenewEconomy sees consumers stepping up quickly enough to make Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent energy storage executive order something of an afterthought. The PM’s urging to “get on with” the job “was received by many as a welcome sign of positive energy policy momentum,” write correspondent Sophie Vorrath. “But the reality is that for much of Australia, the revolution is already well afoot.”
The study shows “that the nation’s households and businesses are taking to batteries with much the same enthusiasm with which they embraced solar,” Vorrath writes. “And at much the same rate.”
Australia is pushing ahead on utility-scale solar, as well, with Singapore-based Equis Energy, Asia’s biggest independent renewable energy developer and investor, planning 100-MW, “battery-ready” solar farms in South Australia and Queensland.
The projects “will both be paired with fossil fuel power generation and transmission infrastructure: one with a new diesel-powered plant near Taliem Bend in South Australia, and one with the existing Collinsville north substation in Queensland,” RenewEconomy reports. But the successes on the ground still haven’t translated into political support for the country’s Renewable Energy Target. The RET initially called for Australia to produce 41,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, but was subsequently scaled back to 33,000 GWh.
“Announcement of the projects—which are expected to deliver power for nearly half the current cost electricity in South Australia—comes as Australia’s Renewable Energy Target is, again, being used as a political football,” Vorrath notes. “Particularly by the federal government, whose far-right faction has reissued calls to scrap it completely.”