A raft of new sustainability incentives will help prepare South Australia’s capital for the future influx of electric vehicles.
The City of Adelaide has also introduced new rebates for shared solar and energy storage as part of its updates to the its Sustainability Incentives Scheme, starting July 1.
The city council is offering residential, commercial and non-profits a rebate of $250 for an electric bicycle charging station, up to $1000 for an EV one way charging station (7 kW to 50 kW) and up to $5000 for EV two-way charging stations (7 kW to 50 kW) or electric vehicle charging station.
The Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor envisions the generous rebates for two-way EV charging stations (and energy management) leading to car batteries feeding into the electricity grid and forming virtual power plants.
“By 2025 or 2030, car park operators could be partnering with electric vehicle fleets to charge when electricity prices are low and sell when prices are high,” she said.
“Adelaide is preparing for a future where workers could be ‘paid to park’ or visitors might ‘plug and play’ while they are at a city festival, because they can sell energy in their vehicle battery back to the national electricity market.”
The scheme will hopefully support the adoption of electric vehicles because car park operators will be incentivised to put in charging infrastructure.
According to Adelaide based solar expert and founder of SolarQuotes Finn Peacock, the rebates for EV charging infrastructure are a welcome addition to the scheme.
He said that Australia is falling behind on EV infrastructure to the point that EV adoption is likely to outpace infrastructure.
“To think we’re on the cusp of everyone who is buying a new car going electric, that will likely happen in the next few years, then it’s a good idea to incentivise chargers for EVs,” he told The Fifth Estate.
The policy will also help boost innovation in vehicle to grid technologies, according to the Lord Mayor.
“As a city designed for thoughtful innovation, Adelaide is inviting entrepreneurs and researchers to come and build businesses around electric vehicle-to-grid technologies, that will have global markets,” Cr Verschoor said.
“With these technologies already on the market, we are getting ready for the day when they can act like a big battery for Adelaide and all South Australians.”
There’s also a new rebate to help apartment and office tenants, who typically struggle to break into the solar market, to co-invest in solar systems and share the electricity that’s generated.
The rebate is for apartments and multi-storey commercial buildings only, with up to $20,000 available per site (with a maximum of $500 per premise, not exceeding 20 per cent of installation costs) for sharing solar electricity in multi-storey premises (> 20 kW).
Mr Peacock says he supports the shared solar incentives because the roofs of unit blocks are “massively underused” so “anything that gets that business case over the line is welcome”.
Strata buildings tend to come up against extra expenses when installing solar because it’s more complicated, among other barriers.
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“As shared solar can bring benefits and bill savings for owners, tenants and residents of multi-storey developments, it is an area of technology and energy market innovation that we would like accelerated progress,” the Lord Mayor said.
There’s also a new rebate for battery storage, with up to $5000 for energy storage systems available for businesses, multi-storey commercial and non-profit community and sporting organisations.
Mr Peacock isn’t completely convinced the battery storage grant will be that much help to most businesses because they tend to use energy during the day, while the sun is shining and their solar systems are generating energy.
“$5000 is probably not going to make it a positive return on investment.”
Incentives for businesses and households shifting electricity use to times when renewable electricity is abundant are also available.
“Shifting when we use pool pumps, water and under-floor heaters and electric vehicle chargers helps ‘even out’ demand through the day, contributing to a more stable grid that can run increasingly with renewable energy,” the Lord Mayor said.
There are also incentives for organisations, precincts, buildings and events wanting to secure carbon neutral certification and use rating tools to benchmark and improve their environmental performance.
Knight Frank national director of sustainability asset management services Nick Mavropsi said that the new additions definitely represent an upgrade to the scheme, and that there’s now more funding available than before.
“It overall looks like a good system.”
He said that many of his clients in commercial and multi-use type buildings would benefit from the updated scheme and it would help them get a quicker return on investment.
“Energy storage is an interesting one though – we’d love to install storage systems but they are still quite expensive… hopefully in the near future though.”
Some incentives have been retired or scaled back due to “maturation in the market” and the introduction of complementary schemes like the state government’s Home Battery Scheme. This includes residential energy storage, LED replacements, and energy monitoring systems.
Around 72 per cent of South Australia’s electricity will be from renewable energy generators by 2020/21.