The Low-Down On Labor’s ‘Proposed’ Battery Subsidy

If they are elected, Federal Labor has proposed a policy which will provide a $2,000 battery rebate that will be available to a maximum of around 1% of Australian households.

The idea of a rebate for households to install batteries is obviously a great initiative. That said, a lot of people ask us if they should wait for it before they make a battery purchase.

We believe there are at least 6 factors to consider:

1. Labor isn’t in power yet.

Labor has to actually get elected in order to start the ball rolling on their proposed legislation. They may be ahead in the polls at this point. However, in the two party-preferred share Ipsos poll, as stated in the Sydney Morning Herald there is no momentum for Labor.

Of course, if you read the News Limited press, the Coalition are a shoo-in. That said, even the most pragmatic realists acknowledge there is still some doubt around the election result – especially in the Upper House.

Elections are mercurial times, nobody knows what shocking revelation will come out next (and shift votes again!).

2. They don’t have to create the rebate.

Election advertising is full of promises that are… well frankly only promises (sometimes referred to as ‘non-core promises’).

We are sure that whoever wins the election will deliver every single one of their election promises. However history suggests that there may be room for some deviation between what is said now and what is done after May 18.

3. It’s likely to take a very long time.

Getting any law through the Federal Parliament can be a tedious and lengthy process (unless, of course, it has to do with raising Parliamentarians’ salaries, but that’s another issue).

It will be even more torturous if it is a law that is anything to do with climate change, carbon reduction and, as we all know, the catalyst for that big split in modern society: Renewable Energy.

All in all, it could be a looong time before we see any real progress on it.

And, a battery installed today could well save you more than the $2,000 rebate well before the rebate becomes real.

4. The policy will likely change a lot.

A lot of people (by which we mean politicians, lobbyists, marginal electorates, and of course the fossil fuel lobby and so on) are going to want to have a lot of input into this one.

Who knows how this Policy will be nuanced, amended or even scrapped through its long journey to becoming law.

As a previous example, the mining tax last decade was an excellent policy. It had lofty and laudable aims, but by the time it was enacted, it was a watered down, pale imitation of the original plan.

Could the $2,000 rebate become much smaller and only apply to a very narrow part of the population?

5. You may not be eligible, or you may miss out anyway.

The proposed rebate is means tested which with a Labor policy could end up becoming very narrow. Currently the ceiling is $180,000 of the combined income of everyone in your household. In the future, that ceiling could change entirely.

More importantly, it will be limited to the first 100,000 applicants. This may sound a lot, but remember there are currently over 2 million households who already have solar and there are thousands more being added every week.

This means only a small number of existing solar customers will be successful in applying for this rebate. So you may not be able to rely on receiving it.

For instance, Victoria recently had a similar rebate which was so oversubscribed, the Victorian Government recently closed it to all further applications – without notice.

6. Who really gets the rebate?

When rebates (on solar, cars, rent, first homes etc) are introduced, what often happens is that the price of the product miraculously rises by, you guessed it, roughly the amount of the rebate.

For the record, this will not be Solaray doing this. Our suppliers are also reputable and we believe will act reputably. We can’t speak for others, but there’s a track record across many industries that it’s worth bearing in mind.

What does all this mean?

Having said all that, the decision about whether or not to buy a solar battery is about much, much more than just a rebate.

The first step is to really work out whether a battery is right for you. There’s a lot to go through with making that decision. We strongly recommend you take a few minutes talking through your own situation with one of our consultants.

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