The Western Australia government has installed the state’s fifth grid-connected “community” PowerBank battery – the first for the state’s South West region – in the bayside City of Busselton, around 50km north of Margaret River.
The battery, installed in nearby Vasse, aims to improve state-owned Western Power’s ability to balance neighbourhood load profiles during the day, while also allowing more homes in the area to install solar panels.
Western Power said the battery would “unlock immediate benefits” for the grid and local community.
Already, Busselton has an impressive distributed PV uptake, with more than 4,700 rooftops featuring solar panels, according to South West Region MLC Sally Talbot.
The “community” part of the equation will come into play later this year when government-owned retailer Synergy will offer eligible solar households the opportunity to store their excess rooftop generation in the battery.
This allows those homes to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during the afternoon and evening peak – when their solar systems stop generating – without having stump up thousands of dollars for their own behind-the-meter battery storage system.
At the same time, their solar will be made “visible” to the network owners and operators, making it easier to manage daytime and peak-time load periods.
All of this goes to managing Western Australia’s nation-leading uptake of rooftop solar, with one in three of the state’s households generating their own renewable power and at times providing up 45 per cent of the state’s total demand.
As RenewEconomy has reported, the rapid accumulation of such a huge behind-the-meter solar resource – which is expected to expand further to one in two households – has particular implications for Western Australia, which exists as its own network, separate from the NEM.
The Busselton Tesla battery marks the fifth Western Power community PowerBank, of this size, to be installed in the state, with others rolled out to Ellenbrook (Perth), Meadow Springs, and Falcon (Mandurah), and, most recently, Kalgoorlie.
“The McGowan government continues to roll out community batteries, as part of its Energy Transformation Strategy, which is contributing to a greener energy future for Western Australians,” said state energy minister Bill Johnston in a statement on Friday.
“Residents of Busselton have really embraced the sun’s energy; in the past 10 years, there has been a sixfold increase of solar panels.
“The Busselton community battery will also allow residents with solar panels to store excess solar power for use during peak times.”