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ACT government extends rebate for solar and battery installation

The ACT government will extend its world leading battery roll out in its bid to make the territory run on 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury on Friday announced a further $3 million - to be paid in grants to six companies - funding to support the battery storage roll-out across Canberra homes and businesses.

ActewAGL Retail, Harvey Norman Commercial Division, ITP Home Energy, Power Saving Centre, Solargain and SolarHub received funds under the program, while EPC Solar and Evergen would continue to operate under the program.

Under the third phase of the scheme, homes and businesses who install a battery connected to a new or existing solar system will receive support of up to $825 for each kilowatt (kW) of sustained peak output.

Mr Rattenbury said the scheme was worth about $4000 to the average household.

The Greens MLA said about 400 batteries had been installed in the ACT so far under scheme, with the aim of rolling out 5000 batteries by 2020.

The aim is for the batteries to be able to store about 36 megawatts of power.

There is currently about one megawatt of energy storage installed under the program.

"Detailed data is being collected from all batteries installed under the program which will inform research and industry development," Mr Rattenbury said.

"The batteries are also contributing to the world's largest residential virtual power plant being trialled by Reposit Power and EvoEnergy (formerly ActewAGL Distribution), which allows battery owners to sell their energy to the grid to help support the electricity network.

"It's very exciting for us to have 36MW potentially of power being stored and being available to support the grid, but also to enable households to manage their own electricity usage."

Mr Rattenbury admitted the cost of installing solar panels and battery was a "significant investment" for households, but said it set up Canberrans in terms of being able to manage their energy bills and contribute to the grid.

"With the price of batteries coming down, more and more people aware of what's possible with batteries, understanding the technology, having more confidence in it, I am expecting the rate of take up accelerate over the coming year.

"It's really helping people afford batteries. This program which is helping people cross the financial threshold, is helping drive that acceleration."

The scheme is part of the ACT government's drive to make Canberra fully powered by renewable energy by 2020.

The government has already invested heavily solar generation, which has reached 100 megawatts, and includes three of the country's largest solar farms at Royalla, Mugga Lane and Williamsdale, and the solar installed on ACT rooftops.

The government last year also announced a new program to reduce energy bills for low-income Canberrans.

The Solar for Low Income Households program offers eligible ACT households a rebate of up to 60 per cent on the cost to supply and installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic system.

The subsidy also cover switchboard upgrade.

Participants have access to interest free loans to pay back the remaining installation costs over a three year period.

"Rooftop solar generation continues to expand under retailer supported schemes," Mr Rattenbury said.

"Householders with solar and batteries are helping reduce Canberra's vulnerability to summer peak energy demand while we transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 and net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest."



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