Community Tesla battery trial launched in Mandurah suburb

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A 105 kW (420kWh) Tesla battery in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs will allow 52 local families to store excess power they generate during the day from their solar PV systems, and then draw down on it during the peak evening period.

The $200,000 PowerBank trial will be run by Western Australia (WA) grid operator Western Power and state-owned retailer Synergy.

It will be the first time in Australia that a utility-scale battery is integrated into an already-established major metropolitan network and made accessible for individual customers.

Under the scheme, customers will be able to use a maximum of 8kWH of virtual storage at the cost of $1 per day without having to outlay upfront costs.

The 8kWhs storage, which is enough to power the average suburban home for over one hour during peak time, will be available any time after 3 pm each day .

PowerBank trial participants will be given greater access to their usage patterns and daily storage data online via the Synergy website, while maintaining reliability of supply from their Western Power grid connection during overcast days.

The 24-month shared storage service trial was unveiled by WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt on Wednesday.

“PowerBank is an ‘in front of the meter’ storage trial which allows invited local customers to store excess electricity from already installed solar PV systems to then use it during peak times,“ Wyatt said.

“For the first time in Australia, a utility-scale battery will be integrated into an established suburb’s network, like Meadow Springs, that has a high level of existing solar PV uptake.“ 

Indeed, Western Australia has the third highest rooftop solar penetration figures nationwide, with 26.7% of households with installed solar panels, and the missing piece has been in battery storage.

In the Meadow Springs battery trial, Synergy will draw on its previous experience with a 1.1 MW community-scale lithium ion battery in the new Alkimos Beach estate, which it has been trialling since 2016.

Households taking part in the trial will not be locked into the program and will receive a quarterly activity statement showing the money saved and energy used.

The recruitment of participants for the trial will start today (October 17) with Synergy contacting those eligible by mail.