The City Council That’s Backing Solar Storage — And How You Can Too

Adelaide City Council has just become the first local council in Australia to offer an incentive to install solar power battery storage.

Both homes and businesses will get up to $5,000 towards the cost of the solar storage batteries. They’ll also get up to $5,000 towards the installation of a solar power system if they don’t have one already. This will mean that houses without solar will still be able to take advantage, whilst those with solar will enjoy a battery retrofit courtesy of the council.

On top of that, those in the Council area will be able to get up to $500 for the installation of an electrical vehicle charging point. This could see more apartment buildings and commercial premises (including car parks) in the CBD installing charging stations next to car parks. Like the ones that are already in place at the Adelaide Central Market, installed by the council in December 2010.

Source: Australian Electric Vehicle Association

Money will also be available for other upgrades, including other energy efficiency upgrades for apartment buildings, solar hot water, and LED downlights.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese made the announcement yesterday. He said ‘We are on the cusp of an energy revolution, now, just as we capture and store the rain water that falls on our roofs, we can capture the sun’s energy and store it until we need it, making continuous availability of carbon-free renewable energy a reality.’ He’s confident it will be a popular move, with 27% of South Australians already having solar panels on their rooves.

According to public reports, the Council has already saved more than $400,000 per year on its electricity bills thanks to schemes like this. People and businesses within the Adelaide city area have slashed their carbon emissions by nearly 20%, and the council has cut its total energy use by 10.3%.

A power discount worth tens of thousands is not something many businesses would turn their noses up at.

 Who makes solar power batteries?

The most hyped solar power storage battery of recent times is the Powerwall by Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA]. It’s compact, rechargeable, and can be mounted on a wall. Unlike traditional lead-acid battery systems, it’s a lithium-ion battery. This means it requires much less space and maintenance.

But that’s not going to be available in Australia until 2016. So where can people turn in the meantime? Well, AGL [ASX:AGK] launched a battery storage product in early May. It’s a 6kWh battery — just less than Tesla’s — that’s reportedly the size of a large suitcase. Expressions of interest are now open, though installations haven’t happened yet.

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AGL exec Marc England said ‘We see battery storage as a vital part of energy the eco-system for homes and businesses. This is just one step on the path to providing thatThe initial product we’re putting in market we believe that will be suitable for a reasonably large home, could be suitable for people who want to store their solar, or for people – such as the thousands of households in NSW who lost power in the recent storms – who want an uninterruptible power source.’

Either way, it looks like the future is bright for Aussie solar companies. By the way, most of the solar companies in Australia are small-caps. It can be hard to pick a winning small-cap, which turns some investors off. But in his report ‘The At-Home Investors Guide To Profiting From Australian Small-Caps’, Sam Volkering shows you exactly what to look for. Read this report and you’ll discover a simple four-step guide to finding quality small-cap stocks BEFORE the big fund managers catch on. Click here to find out how to download your free copy.

Eva Mellors,
Contributor, Money Morning

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