Thousands of South Australians now have a home battery

The Home Battery Scheme has helped thousands of South Australians access subsidies for a home battery, and cleaner, more affordable, reliable power for their home.

The benefits of lower bills, better understanding of energy use, and an increased use of renewable energy are now being seen across all sorts of homes and energy users.

Watch and read these stories of what other South Australians have achieved with a battery subsidised under the Home Battery Scheme.

Anthony Landolfi - Vale Park

"Without the subsidy from the Home Battery Scheme, we may not have done it."

Solar: 10kW

Battery: 13.5kWh

Battery Cost: $7,500 inc GST and installation, post subsidy

Household: 5 bedroom

Major appliances: reverse cycle air-conditioning, pool

The Landolfis are one of the many South Australian households that already had solar panels and were considering a home battery, but were held back by the cost.

Anthony says the Home Battery Scheme made purchasing a battery affordable.

Since installing a 13.5kWh battery on their five bedroom Vale Park home in February 2019, his family is now saving between $250 and $450 per quarter on their power bills. And this is on top of the savings they had already achieved with solar.

"Between our three teenagers and my wife Amanda and I both working fulltime, there was rarely anyone home during the day so it made sense to install a battery that would store all the solar energy that our 10kW of panels were gathering in our absence."

Since installing their home battery, the Landolfis have found themselves more self-sufficient and making better use of their solar energy.

In the first six months of 2020, Anthony says their battery's monitoring data shows that almost 70 per cent of their home's electricity needs were covered by their solar and battery system. Without the battery, the same data suggested this level of self-sufficiency would have been closer to 40 per cent.

"With a two-storey house, a pool, large air-conditioning system, four TVs and a few laptops, our daily grid energy usage before the battery was high. Now with the battery, we're using 12 to 14kWh less grid energy per day. Paying $7,500 for the battery was a great investment."

Based on their current savings, the battery is on track to pay itself back in about five years. Anthony says the family is now considering adding an additional solar system or a second battery in order to become fully self-sufficient.

John Paynter - Andrews Farm

"Best thing we ever did"

John, a semi-retired building surveyor, and his wife Brenda, installed a 10kWh battery using the Home Battery Scheme subsidy and upgraded their existing solar panels to 5.4kW at the same time.

"I've always believed in doing it - I'm a building surveyor by profession and I assess energy efficiency daily when I'm approving buildings," said John.

"My previous bill was $684. The first bill came in nine days after the system went in and we got a $58 rebate. I was flabbergasted - my jaw dropped. Our last full bill came the other day and I got a $159 rebate for the quarter. We don't get bills anymore, only rebates."

"The new batteries are a viable technology. They're affordable and there's a reasonable payback time. We worked out it would take eight years to break even - with the rebate I'm thinking it's down to about four or five years. That puts it in the realms of being affordable."Content courtesy of NewsCorp

Peter Gilbert - Athol Park

"We were very, very pleased to receive that subsidy. It was absolutely tremendous. It was the deal-maker."

Solar: 3.7kW

Battery: 10kWh

Battery Cost: $8,000 inc GST and installation, post subsidy

Household: 2 bedroom

Major appliances: reverse cycle air-conditioning, dryer

Peter and Delia Gilbert say they would not have been able to afford a battery without the subsidy they received through the Home Battery Scheme.

With a 3.7kW solar system already installed on their Athol Park home, the couple's quarterly energy bill was often in credit by a small amount.

"When we first got the solar panels we were very keen to make sure we used our electricity when the sun was shining."

"We were very conscientious and I would say 'ok that can go on now' or 'that can't go on until that goes off'. We were very rigorous and very strict with ourselves. However that wears a bit thin after a while because it's just such hard work."

Since installing their 10kWh battery in November 2018 at a cost of $8,000, Peter and Delia have experienced a newly-found freedom in their electricity usage.

"I read the real-time graph from my app and I can see just how much electricity we are producing, how charged the battery is, and how much power we're exporting to the grid. It's easy to see how many kilowatts I can use at any time."

"If it's a bad day [for solar generation] it doesn't matter, because I still collect 100% of a bad day. Whatever comes, and even if it's not much, I get it all. That's the beauty of a battery."

Even with their relaxed energy habits, Peter says the credits on their bill have actually increased and that their grid consumption is also now a third of what it was before installing the battery.

"I am now nearly $200 in credit [per quarterly bill]. In fact we are using an average of 9kWh a day but only pay for 0.5kWh. On sunny days, we are exporting heaps to the grid which pays for the daily connection fee."

Peter says a battery is a wise investment for people looking to future-proof their retirement. Having had the battery now for about a year, he believes that based on the extra credits he is receiving, that he will break even on the cost of the battery in just under five years.

"I see the purchase as an investment."

"With the battery I've go tnow, it's like we've got this extra income coming in every three months by not having to pay an electricity bill."

Ray O'Hara - North Brighton

"The first bill put a smile on my face"

Finance broker Ray and partner Sonja paid $9,000 for a 10kWh battery for their four bedroom home so that they wouldn't have to face huge electricity bills in their 70's and 80's.

Ray says the Home Battery Scheme subsidy made it an affordable proposition.

"Without the battery, in 15 years' time when I'm 80 and electricity prices have gone up, I wouldn't know if I could afford bills of $650 or more. I might be looking at the bill and saying 'I can't afford this electricity'."

"The first full-quarter electricity bill since installing the battery put a smile on my face. Seeing the billl in black and white was important. When I saw the 2 cent credit, I thought - I'm not going to spend any money this quarter."

Ray believes he will break even on the cost of the battery in five to six years and is happy it's added value to his house.

"The battery has a 10-year warranty and a 20-year lifespan and although I may not be living here by then it makes my house a really saleable product."

Content courtesy of NewsCorp.

Richard Semenov - Leabrook

"I'm saving money and also doing a positive thing for the environment and the future of my kids."

Solar: 10kW

Battery: 16kWh

Battery Cost: $12,000 inc GST and installation, post subsidy

Household: 5 bedroom

Major appliances: reverse cycle air-conditioning, pool

Richard Semenov and his wife Shireen purchased a 12kWh battery but later added another 4kWh of storage capacity when they found the original battery was charging quickly.

The Leabrook couple live in a five bedroom house with their three teenage children and have halved their power bill since their battery was installed in November 2018.

Richard says with the money they are saving on their electricity bills, they will pay off the $12,000 battery in about three years.

"Our yearly use has gone down from around $9,000 to $10,000 before the battery to around $5,000 now."

He says this result is partially thanks to the battery giving the family more data about their home's energy needs, helping them identify simple changes to maximise the use of their solar energy and accelerate their savings.

"We had solar panels on our roof but didn't really have a sense of how much power we were using and when. Now with the app, we are learning to use power differently and at different times. For example I know if our battery is 80% charged at sundown, we can run the dishwasher and washing machine overnight for free."

"If it wasn't for the subsidy I wouldn't have done it, and I'd still be paying my more expensive electricity bills."

The family is aiming to be completely self-sufficient once they purchase an energy efficienct air-conditioning system. The family pool is also getting more use now that a new electric heater has been installed, which Richard says virtually runs off the battery. Richard says the warm pool is now more inviting so he swims far more regularly.

"I swim every week and am much healthier for it!"

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