Community Tesla battery trial kicks off ahead of schedule amid overwhelming interest


Australian-first trial to integrate bulk battery storage into existing network went live on Monday, after 52 customers had signed up to be part of the program in less than two weeks since it had been announced.

A 105 kW (420kWh) Tesla battery in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs will allow the customers 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.

At a cost of $1 per day, each customer participating in the 24-month trial will be able to virtually store up to 8kWh of excess power generated during the day from their solar PV systems in the battery.

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.

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 $200,000 PowerBank trial, a joint initiative between state-owned retailer Synergy and grid operator Western Power, is the first time a utility-scale battery has been integrated into an already established major metropolitan network in Australia and made accessible for individual customers.

WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said on Monday that the trial launch had been brought forward due to overwhelming interest of homeowners.

“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,“ Wyatt said.

“It is also currently a cheaper and a far better community solution to hundreds or thousands of behind the meter individual household batteries.“

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.

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