New rules to facilitate battery storage take-up in Queensland

Queensland households receiving the 44-cent solar feed in tariff (FiT) now have clearer rules on how to integrate new renewable energy technologies with their current PV setups while retaining their premium tariff.

Laws clarifying the use of battery storage in partnership with the Solar Bonus Scheme were introduced into state parliament last week.

Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said with an array of new technologies now available to homeowners, the changes reflected a need for Queensland laws to “move with the times”.

“With the new wave of renewable technology emerging, we want to ensure Queensland law provides certainty to those wanting to embrace energy storage and also maintain their 44c FiT eligibility,” Mr Bailey said.

“Solar rooftops combined are now our largest power station in Queensland, and declining costs and technology breakthroughs have the battery storage market poised for substantial growth – just like solar PV some seven years ago.

“In Queensland we regularly see local energy companies, such as Redback Technologies demonstrating that battery storage technology is becoming more affordable and that opportunities for battery storage technology are immense.

“We believe in transitioning to a clean energy economy and want to promote the uptake of this new technology.

“We understand that batteries will play an important role in our transition to a clean energy economy, helping maintain system security, reliability and affordability.”

Minister Bailey said when the Solar Bonus Scheme was first established, new technologies like batteries were not a consideration at the time.

“These new rules will clarify how batteries and additional generation can work within the Solar Bonus Scheme remaining consistent with the original intent of the scheme,” he said.

“The Palaszczuk Government will continue to honour the commitment made to Queenslanders who have taken up the Solar Bonus Scheme, but what we don’t want to see is some people taking advantage of new technology in a way that isn’t consistent with the original intent of the scheme.”

Under changes to the (Batteries and Premium Feed In Tariff) Amendment Bill 2017 customers who receive the 44c FiT and want to add extra systems or batteries must check with their distributor before adding extra systems or batteries; only use extra systems and batteries at times when the system receiving the 44c/kWh FiT is not operating (i.e. at night); and make sure any extra systems or batteries can’t export to the grid.

The new rules will apply from June 15.