Western Australia continues community battery rollout


PowerBank 3, the largest trial in the scheme to date with up to 600 Western Australian households able to leverage battery storage technology, will commence next month and follows the installation of nine 116 kW batteries across the state late last year.

The PowerBank 3 trial follows the PowerBank 1 and 2 trials, which launched in Mandurah, and Ellenbrook in Perth’s northern suburbs, over the past three years.

The first of the trials, in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs in 2018, delivered participants a collective saving of about $11,000 on their power bills, or an average of $228 per customer, over the first year of operation of the 105 kW/420 kWh battery. 

The 18-month PowerBank 3 trial is designed to enable participants to experience the benefits of a behind-the-meter battery for a fraction of the upfront cost. Households will be able to store up to 6 kWh or 8 kWh of excess solar energy produced by their rooftop solar PV systems for later use. Participants will pay a daily subscription fee of $1.20 per day or $1.40 per day, for 6 kWh or 8 kWh of storage respectively.

The trial will also allow participants to accrue excess energy over the course of their billing cycle, providing the opportunity to offset peak energy consumption.

Synergy chief executive officer Jason Waters said the trial would provide invaluable 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,” he said.

“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.

“Directly partnering with customers and industry peers, including Western Power, is key to delivering solutions that are cost-effective for our community and sustainable for ongoing network stability.”

Energy Minister Bill Johnston with Western Power CEO Ed Kalajzic

Image: Western Power

Western Power CEO Ed Kalajzic said the latest PowerBank trial was one of a number of new technologies the network operator was using to better manage the growing abundance of renewables, meet customer energy needs, and improve the efficiency of WA’s valuable south-west grid infrastructure.

“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,” he said.

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

“Community batteries are an excellent example of what we’re aiming to achieve for the benefit of the whole community and we now have the insights and data to expand on this further.”

Participants will move to a time-of-use pricing plan with any unused solar energy sold back to Synergy at the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme rate and credited to their Synergy account.

Batteries have been installed in both metropolitan and regional areas of WA, including Kalgoorlie, Port Kennedy,  Canning Vale, Vasse and Ellenbrook.

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