Battery storage trial goes live in WA

The residents of Alkimos Beach in Western Australia are participating in the landmark residential battery storage trial, which combines community-scale battery energy storage and solar, and could save participants 15 per cent or more on their electricity bills.

The trial participants will get to experience “virtual” energy storage through a 1.1 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery storage system connected to the power grid. The battery storage system has been installed in two shipping containers in the suburb instead of batteries being fixed in homes. The system will store energy from over 100 rooftop solar photovoltaic systems.

The $6.7 million trial is a collaboration between Synergy and development partners, LandCorp and Landlease, and is supported by $3.3 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Federal Minister for Environment Greg Hunt joined WA Minister for Energy Mike Nahan, ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht and Synergy CEO Jason Waters in Alkimos Beach, Western Australia, to announce the start of the residential battery storage trial on Wednesday.

“The Turnbull Government’s investment in projects like the Alkimos Beach trial reflects the significant role residential solar and storage is destined to play in our rapidly increasing urban landscape and as part of the nation’s future energy mix,” said Minister Hunt.

According to Mr Frischknecht, combining community-scale battery storage and rooftop solar presents a win-win for energy retailers, developers and consumers and can provide households with the benefits of storage without on-site installation and maintenance.

“Solar will work alongside battery storage to lower Alkimos Beach’s demand for electricity from the grid. This model has the potential to offer residents cheaper electricity bills and reduce grid connection costs for future new developments,” he said.

According to a statement issued by ARENA, the Alkimos trial was set to prove an innovative energy retailing model suited for the 21st century and the lessons learned would address gaps in existing knowledge, potentially paving the way for similar projects.

“There is also a need to better understand how solar and community-scale storage can operate within traditional networks. For example, right now there are no tariffs that allow community energy storage to discharge onto electricity networks,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The trial, which is scheduled to run from 2016 to 2020 could also lead the way for follow-on projects, especially if similar models are adopted at other residential developments.

“If the approach becomes standard practice for new residential developments, this will increase the supply and use of renewable energy in Australia.”

Advantages of home battery storage

Lower energy bills. A home battery system stores excess electricity generated from solar panels during the day so it can be used at night. This in turn lowers your dependency on electricity from the local grid at nighttime. This increased self-consumption of solar power then results in lower electricity bills.

Better for the environment. Battery storage is good for the environment because it uses solar energy instead of fossil fuels for generating electricity.

Blackout support. In case of a blackout, a home battery system should be able to keep some of your home’s appliances running for a number of hours even when the power is out.

For more information and news updates on battery storage and other energy saving tips, visit Mozo’s energy hub.


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