A man stands looking at a Tesla battery on the side of his home.

‘I don’t pay electricity bill’: Household solar battery users praise the headline, but there’s no discount to be found in the Sunshine State

Keith Gregg hasn’t paid an electricity bill in over a year after installing a solar battery at his home in Helensvale on the Gold Coast, but if you’re considering doing the same, there’s no funding from the Queensland Government in the latest state budget.

Industry figures say soaring energy prices and the risk of power outages are driving homeowners rushing to the store to order solar panels and batteries, but the high initial cost is a barrier for many.

Mr Gregg said that after years of having solar panels, getting a battery was a good idea.

“After having solar only during the day for a long time, I just decided it was a good idea to have solar at night as well,” said Mr Gregg.

“It worked really well — it cost quite a bit of money, but definitely money well spent.”

The retiree said it would be about two more years before he would even break through the cost, but it was an easily justified purchase.

“We had a power outage a while ago – my house had all the lights on, I could still watch TV, no problems.

“What surprised me was that I didn’t see people pouring in from the other side of the street.”

Keith Gregg’s battery allows him to power his house at night with solar panels. ABC News: Alex Brewster

State invests in large-scale batteries

On Friday, the Queensland government announced a multi-million dollar investment to make the state more energy independent.

Thirteen large-scale batteries will be rolled out in the state, including a 200 megawatt battery at Greenbank, in Logan south of Brisbane – the largest in the state.

The batteries are expected to be operational by the end of next year.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said the investment was the best strategy for easing household energy costs rather than rebates for individuals.

“We think it makes the most sense for most households to invest in large-scale storage,” said Mr. De Brenni.

“That’s why we are building the largest battery ever in Queensland’s history.

“We will place 12 utility batteries in the state, bringing our total to 19 of those state-owned.

“It will make more sense over time, especially as we have locally made batteries for Queenslanders to have available.

“But they are already excited to install here in Queensland and the market is already working for Queenslanders who have solar on the roof to install a battery.”

Mick de Brenni walks down a papered corridor in the Brisbane Parliament Building.
Mick de Brenni says building a storage market in the state is investing in battery production in Queensland.AAP: Dan Peled – file photo

Mr De Brenni said a 2018 scheme with interest-free loans and rebates for solar had served its purpose and a different approach was needed going forward.

“The program was completely cleared and over that period we saw a significant reduction in the cost of those systems, basically a $4,000 reduction in the cost of those systems, so that program did its job of keeping our market going. ‘, Mr. de Brenni.

“The next step we will take to ensure that we build a storage market in Queensland is to invest in battery production here.

Buying batteries is still a ‘complicated calculation’

Michael Brear, director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne, said there has been an increase in people looking to buy batteries and install solar power.

“There has been a rush of orders that have already been made in response to what has happened in the Australian energy markets,” said Professor Brear.

“That’s a very sensible response from homeowners to rising electricity prices in the coming month.”

A solar battery allows you to store the energy generated by panels during the day, at night, which is usually paid back to you.

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