With much anticipation from homeowners in WA’s Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs, a community battery storage trial has launched three months earlier than planned.

The battery was originally scheduled to go live early in 2019, but was brought forward to 5 November 2018 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.

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 under the trial.

Western Australian Energy Minister, Ben Wyatt, said that PowerBank is an example of smart investment, bringing potential benefit to all participating customers with an existing grid connection.

“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,” Mr Wyatt said.

“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.”  

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