Synergy and Western Power are expanding their third PowerBank trial in Western Australia, set to be the largest trial to date.

The PowerBank 3 trial follows PowerBank 1 and 2, which launched in Meadow Springs and Falcon near Mandurah, and Ellenbrook in Perth’s northern suburbs, over the last three years.

PowerBank 3 will start in March 2021, and follows the installation of nine 116kW community batteries across Perth and the South West in late 2020. One of the batteries, in Vasse, is the first community battery for the region.

The 18-month trial will allow 600 household participants to take advantage of their rooftop solar PV systems by storing their excess solar energy (up to 6kWh or 8kWh) for later use.

A daily subscription fee of $1.20 per day or $1.40 per day, for 6kWh or 8kWh of storage respectively, applies, and will enable participants to experience the benefits of a behind-the-meter battery for a fraction of the upfront cost.

For the first time, PowerBank 3 customers will be able to accrue excess energy over the course of their billing cycle, providing greater opportunity to offset peak energy consumption.

Synergy Chief Executive Officer, Jason Waters, said PowerBank 3 would provide invaluable learnings about the role batteries could play in the future energy market.

“Renewable and distributed energy resources such as battery storage are major parts of Western Australia’s energy future, and we are committed to the continued exploration of these technologies,” Mr Waters said.

“PowerBank 3 is an excellent way for us to continue to test the application of energy storage to help meet the needs of individual households, as well as those of the broader electricity network.

“Directly partnering with customers and industry peers, including Western Power, is key to delivering solutions that are cost-effective for our community and sustainable for ongoing network stability.”

Western Power Chief Executive Officer, Ed Kalajzic, said the latest PowerBank trial was one of a number of new technologies Western Power was using to better manage the growing abundance of renewables, meet customer energy needs, and improve the efficiency of WA’s valuable south-west grid infrastructure.

“From a grid perspective, community batteries enable us to work with the community to soak up excess solar power, store it and re-use it later when solar generation drops but power need increases. 

“It becomes a tool that helps us smooth the flow of renewables on the grid.

“It also means we can safely integrate more solar-generated electricity on the grid, which is great news for homeowners and businesses.

“Community batteries are an excellent example of what we’re aiming to achieve for the benefit of the whole community and we now have the insights and data to expand on this further.”

Participants will move to a time-of-use pricing plan with any unused solar energy sold back to Synergy at the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme rate and credited to their Synergy account.

The PowerBank 3 batteries are located in the following areas of metropolitan and regional WA:

  • Ellenbrook
  • Kalgoorlie
  • Ashby
  • Canning Vale
  • Two Rocks
  • Vasse
  • Port Kennedy
  • Yokine
  • Parmelia

The PowerBank trial is an Australian-first for the successful integration of community batteries into an established network.

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