The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $120 million in funding has been made available to back a rollout of community battreies across Australia.
The cash, under Round 1 of the Community Batteries Funding Program, aims to deploy batteries to lower energy bills, cut emissions and reduce pressure on the electricity grid.
ARENA is now seeking applications for up to $20 million funding to deploy a minimum of five community batteries.
To be eligible for ARENA funding, each community battery must be between 50 kW and 5 MW in size and connected to the distribution network.
ARENA has allocated $120 million in funding for Round 1, split equally between Distributed Network Service Providers (DNSP) and other applicants.
Community batteries provide energy storage in the distribution network that can store excess solar energy for later use, putting downward pressure on household electricity costs, and easing pressure on the local electricity grid.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said: “Not everyone is able to install rooftop solar, but by storing electricity close to the point of consumer demand, we can reduce network costs and alleviate constraints in areas with high solar penetration. This will ultimately reduce electricity costs for all consumers.”
“We’re excited to be working on this initiative to support the roll out of these 342 batteries across Australia.”
As part of the 2022/23 Federal Budget, the Australian Government allocated $200 million for the Household Solar budget measure to deploy 400 community batteries across Australia.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) will deliver an initial 58 community batteries through the Business Grants Hub. This round is now closed, with DCCEEW now assessing applications.
ARENA will be hosting two information sessions on the Community Batteries Funding Program in April.