A Western Australian suburb south of Perth is set to trial a community energy storage scheme that will allow solar households to store their excess rooftop generation in a shared battery, installed locally.
The City of Mandurah Council last month voted unanimously in favour of taking part in the trial, which will be rolled out by the state-owned utility Western Power in the suburb of Meadow Springs.
As we have reported on One Step before, Mandurah is one of WA’s top solar postcodes, thanks to a huge uptake of solar among the city’s households and small businesses.
Last year, the Australian Photovoltaic Institute, using data from the Clean Energy Regulator, ranked it third in the nation’s top 10 solar hotspots, with an uptake of small-scale solar systems (less than 10kW) at 35 per cent and a total installed capacity of 23.5MW.
Indeed, all of WA has been adding rooftop solar at a record rate, which late year saw the state overtake South Australia with a total installed amount of 771MW.
This is despite the price of electricity being subsidised (up to one-third of the true cost) by the state government, which owns all the infrastructure but now finds itself unable to balance the budget because of it.
But of course, not all of that home and business solar generation is being consumed on site, with excess energy sent to the grid – an outcome that can deliver less value to the solar owner, and potential headaches for the network operator.
Like a regular bank, the ‘Meadow Springs Community Power Bank’ will serve as somewhere for participating households to store any unused solar power generated on their rooftop, and access it later, when needed.
The battery, of as-yet undefined capacity, would be installed in a suburban street – on a piece of land approved by council – in the same suburb.
The council said the project would deliver benefits to multiple stakeholders, including those households taking part in the trial, consumers as a whole, the network operator and the energy
retailer – in this case, Synergy.
“By supporting the project, the City of Mandurah will be part of advancing the technologies required for a more sustainable energy future, whilst addressing network capacity issues in the area,” council minutes said.
High level findings generated by the trial regarding consumer behaviour and attitudes will also be shared with the City.