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IEEFA report: Bundling rooftop solar, storage and an electric vehicle becoming cheaper in Australia

December 17, 2019
Gerard Wynn and Arjun Flora

Australia States only map

A new IEEFA report suggests Australia is on the cusp of another solar revolution.

Australia has one of the world’s – if not the world’s highest – uptake of rooftop solar.

The country also has one of the world’s lowest developed country uptakes of electric vehicles, which can be charged from rooftop solar.

In 2018, just 0.2% of vehicles sold in Australia were electric cars. That’s roughly 1800, and compares to more than 4000 in New Zealand, which has about a quarter of the population of Australia.

Gerard Wynn from IEEFA says exemptions from the GST and motor taxes, as well as a government grant in the range of $6500, could dramatically increase that uptake of electric vehicles.

The country has one of the world’s lowest developed country uptakes of electric vehicles

“With not such big incentives, perhaps an exemption from road tax and possibly a capital incentive to help buy the vehicle, you can capture that solar power that you’re harnessing on your roofs, store that in a stationary battery, let’s say in a garage, and then use that stored solar to charge up an electric vehicle,” says Wynn.

“By combining those three technologies, your solar panels, your battery and your EV, you’re driving now two sources of savings.

“Already your solar panels are helping to save on the cost of running your household appliances. Now the panels are also helping to reduce the cost of, in this case, driving an electric vehicle.

It could be that Australia is actually on the cusp of something of an opportunity.

“I think this will play out not only because of Australia’s solar panels and solar market, but also the falling cost of EVs.

“I think it’s really interesting, and it could be that Australia is actually on the cusp of something of an opportunity.”

Such incentives as Wynn suggests would take the current payback period for a solar battery and electric car package from his estimate of about nine years currently, to less than five, on IEEFA’s modelling.

By the end of the decade, that payback period could be less than two years.

There could be another benefit if electric vehicle uptake went up based on rooftop solar. It’s an extra use for that route rooftop solar which is currently destabilizing the energy grid because of the production during the day time when demand is low.

If more people had electric cars and were charging them during the day time, that daytime demand would be much higher.

Read the report: Steering by the Southern Sun – Australians Are Missing a Trick on Solar-Powered Electric Vehicles

This story first appeared on ABC’s Radio National.

Related articles:

IEEFA report: Solar potential in Australia warrants investing in electric vehicle market

IEEFA update: Why renewables are the solution for Australia

IEEFA Report: Advances in Solar Energy Accelerate Global Shift in Electricity Generation

Gerard Wynn

Former IEEFA Energy Finance Consultant Gerard Wynn is a U.K.-based 10-year veteran of energy and economics reporting at the Thomson Reuters News Agency and has authored numerous papers on energy issues ranging from solar power in Great Britain to coal-burning in China and India. He blogs at EnergyandCarbon.com

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Arjun Flora

Arjun Flora is Director of Energy Finance Studies, Europe. At IEEFA, Arjun is responsible for leading and building the Europe team, partnering with funders, campaigners and investors to maximize IEEFA’s impact. As a research analyst, he covers several topic areas relating to the energy transition in Europe, including power utilities, gas infrastructure, sustainable finance, renewable energy, energy markets and consumption trends.

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