House debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Constituency Statements

Renewable Energy

10:43 am

Photo of Sally SitouSally Sitou (Reid, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When it comes to installing rooftop solar, Australians are world champions. Almost a third of Australian households have rooftop solar—the highest rate in the world. According to the Australian Energy Market Operator, rooftop solar accounted for 7.9 per cent of total generation in quarter 2 of this year. That's more than gas and nearly equal to hydro. There's potential for rooftop solar to be an energy powerhouse, but that potential is not being realised at the moment. Only one in 60 households have battery storage, because household battery storage is still too expensive.

While doorknocking in Concord last year, I met a resident who had installed a household Tesla battery. He no longer used energy from the grid, because he was wholly reliant on energy created by his solar panels and stored in his battery. So, instead of having to pay for electricity, he was able to make a little money by selling excess energy he was creating from his solar panels into the grid. Also, because he did not rely on the grid, he had the added advantage of avoiding blackouts the neighbourhood had experienced. However, he estimated he wouldn't recoup the cost of the battery for several years, but he felt it was a good investment because his home was more sustainable and energy efficient.

To get to 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030, which is the Albanese Labor government's target, we will need battery storage at an industrial and household scale, but we'll also need it at the community level. That's why I'm so proud of the Albanese government's Community Batteries for Household Solar Program. We are delivering on an election commitment to 400 community batteries providing storage of cleaner, cheaper renewable energy for households, and I am delighted that the first community battery installed under this scheme was in Cabarita in my electorate.

There are so many benefits of community batteries. They empower residents to harness affordable solar energy during the day and store it for use in the local grid when the sun isn't shining. Community batteries give more people, including those unable to install solar panels, such as renters and apartment owners, access to renewable, cheaper energy. Having storage close to generation makes the energy network more efficient. It helps get more capacity out of existing poles and wires. I want to thank all the groups that have worked so hard to advocate for renewable energy in our community: Climate Action Burwood-Canada Bay, Inner West Community Energy and Inner West Community Battery.