Community storage trial expands in Western Australia


Western Australia’s Synergy and Western Power have launched the PowerBank 3 community energy storage trial.

The trial, the third and largest to date, will start next month and follows the installation of nine 116kW community batteries across Perth and the South West late last year.

The 18-month trial will allow up to 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.

We will be hosting a webinar looking at energy storage use cases. Speakers will discuss the operational benefits of the innovative use cases for both the utility and the consumer. Register here to attend.

Community storage options offer an alternative to individuals installing their own batteries.

Participants pay a daily subscription fee of Au$1.20 or Au$1.40 (US$0.95 or $1.10), for 6kWh or 8kWh of storage respectively, enabling them to experience the benefits of a behind-the-meter battery for a fraction of the upfront cost.

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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.

The project is expected to provide further 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,” says Synergy CEO, Jason Waters.

“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.

PowerBank 3 is the third extension of the trial, following PowerBanks 1 and 2 over the last three years. PowerBank 1 implemented a 105kW battery while in PowerBank 2 two 116kW batteries were deployed.

Among the results in the first year of PowerBank 1, an average of 7.38kW of solar energy was stored daily and residents saved on average $228, with collective savings on power bills totalling $11,000.

“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,” says Western Power CEO Ed Kalajzic.

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

The trial is using Tesla PowerPack batteries.