Other countries are leaving Australia for dust on the “renewables-led recovery”, according to Nathan Dunn, managing director of sonnen Australia.

Dunn says the Australian government could learn from more “forward-thinking” countries on harnessing renewables incentives to spark economic activity.

“Other markets and other countries are actually focused on helping markets grow by investing in renewables to get themselves out of the economic doldrums post-pandemic.”

In Italy, for example, the government has enacted a tax credit system to incentivise the shift to residential solar, storage and energy efficiency upgrades. Consumers in Italy can earn up to a 110 per cent tax relief for installing PV, storage, heat pumps, insulation and other green infrastructure as part of the country’s €55 billion post-pandemic economic stimulus program.

In Spain, the EU has recently dished out €3.9 billion to support “innovative renewable energy” to help the green transition and to boost the country’s economy post pandemic.

In Australia, by contrast, Dunn says the transition is being led by consumers and vendors within the renewable space.

“I mean, we can do it without incentives. But a concerted focus on a renewables-led pandemic recovery would be a smart move.”

He notes that there has been some activity at the state level, such as the New South Wales government’s Empowering Homes solar battery loan offer and the South Australian government’s Home Battery Scheme that has been running for a number of years. Solar Victoria is also dabbling in the space by calling on the private sector to help it pilot virtual power plants (VPPs).

“It’s being done on a state by state and individual basis, there’s just not a concerted national view.”

Despite the lack of incentives, Australia remains an attractive market for sonnen.

“People will continue to develop and launch devices in Australia because it’s an interesting market. it’s an interesting market because of the rooftop PV penetration.”

The company has just launched a new outdoor battery product specific for the Australian and New Zealand market. Called sonnenBatterie Evo, the product fits Australian regulations and standards and is built for the country’s harsh environmental conditions. It has 10kWh of usable storage capacity and it is made up of two fully usable 5.0kWh battery modules.

Dunn says interest in storage has remained fairly consistent over the last three years, including throughout 2021. He says battery storage became one of the upgrades people reached for when their energy bills skyrocketed while working from home during lockdowns.

He says there’s also been an uptick in consumer interest in energy and storage aggregation via VPPs.