Department of Human Services

Home batteries for bushfire rebuilding

A free home battery will be offered to South Australian households rebuilding after the 2019–20 bushfires, under an arrangement offered by the South Australian Government and local battery manufacturer, sonnen.

Under the offer, bushfire-affected households can receive a sonnen battery as part of the rebuilding of their property.

Initially this offer is for the 188 households who lost their homes, however, the Government is continuing to look at opportunities to extend this initiative to other households impacted by the 2019–20 bushfires.

To be eligible:

  • the damage must have occurred to the main residence on the property during the 2019–20 bushfires (this includes holiday homes where the property is not the householder’s principal residential address, but does not include outhouses or sheds)
  • you must be able to provide verification that your residence was damaged by the 2019–20 bushfires. You can get this by calling the State Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787.
  • households must be willing to co-contribute to the cost of the home energy system by paying for the installation of the battery and new solar panels, if required.

How do I register my interest in getting a battery?

There are two ways to register:

  1. Wait to receive a letter of offer. The South Australian Government will notify all eligible households by writing, inviting them to take up this offer.
  2. Should you wish to register your interest now, phone the State Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787.

FAQs

How long will this offer be available?

  • Given the complex nature of rebuilding after a bushfire, this offer is valid until further information about the construction schedule for eligible households is known.
    However, eligible households must register their interest in receiving a battery by 30 September 2020..

How many batteries are available?

  • One battery per eligible residence.

What is the make, model and size of the battery(s) being offered?

  • The battery on offer is a sonnenBatterie Eco 9.53 Hybrid Single Phase

Are there different battery brands and sizes available?

  • No.

What size of solar system is required to pair with the battery?

  • Households are encouraged to seek advice from a certified sonnen installer about what size system would suit their needs. A list of installers will be sent to all eligible households together with the letter of offer.

Can the batteries operate in the event of an outage?

  • sonnen home energy systems do have backup functionality at and additional cost to the household. Eligible households are encouraged to discuss this with a certified sonnen installer before the system is installed.

Can the batteries be used for off-grid locations?

  • Yes, but they would likely require additional hardware and detailed usage analysis and system design. Eligible households are encouraged to seek advice from a certified sonnen installer.

Does the battery need to be installed by a certified sonnen installer?

  • A certified sonnen installer must install the home energy system – this is a sonnen requirement. A list of providers will be provided along with the offer.

If I decide not to rebuild and want to live outside the bushfire-affected region, am I still eligible for a battery?

  • No. The battery must be installed on the bushfire-affected property.

Can I install the battery on a structure that wasn’t destroyed or damaged by the bushfire, such as a nearby shed?

  • Yes. Eligible households can determine the location of their battery, providing it is on the same location (NMI) of the impacted primary residence.

If I sell my bushfire-affected property, will the new owner be eligible for a battery?

  • No. This program is part of the 2019–20 bushfire response.

If there is another bushfire later this year or next year, and more houses are destroyed or damaged, will those households receive a free battery?

  • In the event of another disaster, the South Australian government will re-assess the uptake of this offer to inform future bushfire response and rebuilding efforts.

If my home was destroyed in other recent bushfires, such as the 2015 Sampson Flat or Pinery bushfires, am I eligible for a battery?

  • No. This program is part of the 2019–20 bushfire response.

Are batteries safe in the event of another bushfire?

  • Yes. sonnen battery modules have been tested and certified to IEC 62619 and UL 1973 standards and are deemed as not posing a fire hazard under AS/NZS 5139:2019. The sonnen LFP2 modules do not ‘out-gas’ in normal operation and will shut down in cases of extreme heat. In the extreme event of an actual fire this will not cause any exacerbation of the situation.
Page last updated : 06 Mar 2020

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