Community battery storage trial races ahead

Community electricity
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An Australian-first community battery storage trial has launched three months ahead of schedule in Meadow Springs, Western Australia.

The original ‘go live’ date for the battery was scheduled to be early in 2019 but was brought forward after residents snapped up the 52 spots available.

PowerBank, a joint initiative between Synergy and Western Power, with the help of the City of Mandurah, is the first time a utility-scale battery has been integrated into an already established major metropolitan network in Australia.

A 105kW (420kWh) Tesla battery has been connected to the electricity grid in Meadow Springs, allowing households with rooftop solar panels to maximise their existing grid connection.

At a cost of $1 per day, each customer participating in the 24-month trial will be able to virtually store up to eight kWh of excess power generated during the day from their solar PV systems in the battery.

They will then be able to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during peak time without having to outlay upfront costs for a behind the meter battery storage system.

Minister for Energy, Ben Wyatt, said, “PowerBank is another example of smarter investment by two of WA’s utilities into network infrastructure that has the potential to benefit all customers with an existing grid connection.

“This is another example of how by keeping Western Power and Synergy in the hands of Western Australians, the focus remains on supplying solutions and savings for the customers of WA.

“For customers with solar panels, this is a simple opportunity that uses the existing network connection to their home, requires zero augmentation to their connection, and delivers savings and flexibility to suit their needs.

“Investing in battery storage across the grid is a more cost-efficient way of managing the growth in residential solar instead of traditional infrastructure spends like substation or transformer upgrades. It is also currently a cheaper and a far better community solution to hundreds or thousands of behind the meter individual household batteries.”

Mandurah MLA, David Templeman, said, “This is just further proof that the people in Mandurah are innovators and keen to embrace these changes in technology.

“The people of Meadow Springs have already shown just why it was right they were chosen for the trial.

“I look forward to following the results of the trial and hope to see more projects like this rolled out across the area.”

Homes taking part in the trial will not be locked into the program, which will allow them continuing flexibility and choice in deciding how they meet their individual electricity needs.

Customers will be billed monthly and will receive a quarterly activity statement from Synergy to advise them of their savings made under the trial.

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