NDIS gets a solar rollout with sonnen battery installations

National Disability Insurance Scheme users will access cheap solar energy with a guaranteed 20pc minimum available under a scheme to roll out in South Australia.


Natural Solar says it is installing solar panels and sonnen battery storage in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) for NDIS users.


The rollout in the northern Adelaide suburb of Salisbury is a pilot for a potential SDA solution across the country.


Natural Solar chief executive Chris Williams says his company has developed custom functionality for tenants with each battery retaining a minimum of 20 per cent charge at all times.


Backup power will be activated during a blackout or power outage. Resident can prioritise household appliances that continue to run when the battery kicks in.


He says solar and battery integration in each newly built property will reduce the electricity costs of Australians with significant disability.



Mr Williams says the national annual average cost of power is $2000. Under this plan, residents will pay a monthly flat administration fee of $40, with savings of up to $1520 per year. There is no separate power usage cost.


He says Specialist Disability Accommodation is paying an installation fee of $17990. “Each home will be eligible for sonnenFlat, which will drastically cut the price of power for tenants,” Mr Williams says.


Under the sonnenFlat scheme, sonnen becomes the retail electricity supplier to the property. Consumers provide sonnen with access to excess power for the grid in return for reduced power costs to users. In this case users pay a flat $40 per month.


Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher says Australians with a disability should have access to the same energy choices at homes as others.


“With the strong and rising household penetration of solar panels, and with the take up of batteries expected to increase as prices drop, it is clear that household solar systems have an increasing role in helping Australian households to manage energy costs,” he says.


“That is why I am pleased to see this example of a specialist disability accommodation development using the latest home solar technology. I have no doubt we will see more of this in the future.


“If this delivers more choice and lower power prices for Australians with disability, it will bring significant benefits — benefits which can be expected to increase as the technology advances.”


In the initial development, each two bedroom, one bathroom single-storey accessible home is being fitted with a 10kWh Sonnen Battery Eco including backup power, and a 5.2 kWp solar system with Q-Cell panels.


The solar panels will produce power, and the battery will store excess power produced, giving tenants the choice of how, and when they use their stored power.


Geoff Barber, COO from inhousing, a developer building SDA housing, says solar and batteries open up huge potential for SDA tenants under the NDIS.


“We can see the opportunity ahead which is why we’ve elected to partner with Natural Solar on this development,” he says. “This is our first foray into using renewable energy technology on our housing developments, and we are excited to see the benefits for our tenants and in future, extend battery and solar to a wider number of residents around the country.”


Mr Williams says this is the first time Natural Solar has build a solution of this scale in a partnership. He says it offers amazing functionality for the occupants. “This is two-fold in both the environment and the community.”


The first installations are under way.


Kylie Boughton