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Community batteries

Community batteries

A community battery is a shared neighbourhood battery solution that supports the grid by improving power reliability and smoothing power flow in a local area to enable further uptake of rooftop solar. Currently, a community battery doesn’t allow for individual storage (meaning you can’t draw on it to power your home when you’re not generating any solar energy) unless it is a PowerBank battery.

The PowerBank battery is being used in our community battery trials with Synergy, where in selected areas participants can store excess energy and then draw on it when needed to power their homes. PowerBank is the name of the battery we’re using. A community battery is another battery storage solution, however households who have access to one can only send their excess solar energy to the battery to support the grid, not draw energy from it.

Although community batteries benefit the entire community (whether customers in the area have rooftop solar panels or not) they don’t currently allow for individual energy storage. But there is potential in the future.

The PowerBank battery, in partnership with Synergy, is part of our community battery program and does allow for individual energy storage.

Once the PowerBank battery is installed, we identify suitable customers within the local government area and we invite them to sign up and pay subscription fee, currently $1.60-$1.90 per day. Battery storage like this is not suitable for... Read more

Unfortunately we’re currently not accepting expressions of interest.

This is because community batteries (including PowerBank batteries) are located in areas where there is a specific network need. This includes where the network requires upgrading or adjusting to maintain power reliability and quality. However, community interest and support is also an important consideration in determining the location of a community battery.

For the PowerBank battery,  Synergy is responsible for looking after customers involved in the trials. More information can be found on their website

  1. City of Mandurah, Meadow Springs – PowerBank battery
  2. City of Mandurah, Falcon – PowerBank battery
  3. City of Swan, Ellenbrook #1 – PowerBank battery
  4. City of Swan, Ellenbrook #2 – PowerBank battery
  5. City of Wanneroo, Two Rocks – PowerBank battery
  6. City of Wanneroo, Ashby - PowerBank battery
  7. City of Canning, Canning Vale - PowerBank battery
  8. City of Rockingham, Port Kennedy - PowerBank battery
  9. City of Stirling, Yokine - PowerBank battery
  10. City of Kwinana, Parmelia - PowerBank battery
  11. City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kalgoorlie-Boulder - PowerBank battery
  12. City of Busselton, Vasse - PowerBank battery
  13. Shire of (5 year trial)... Read more

Community batteries offer improved power quality and lower the cost on tariffs, as they are currently more cost effective than a home battery solution.

Plans for expansion are underway. The locations of community batteries depend on a number of factors to ensure it provides optimal benefit for the community and the grid.

Western Power is funding the cost of the community batteries, which will deliver network savings and efficiencies.

The location of a community battery is based on comprehensive data and modelling work and is determined by several factors. Some of these include the amount of solar being generated from customer rooftops in a particular area, the age of the infrastructure in that area and any local pressure on the transformers.

One of the primary considerations is ensuring the battery location provides optimal benefit to the community and the grid. As they are designed to smooth the power flow by soaking up excess solar energy, they ultimately improve the performance of the network for customers in that area.

Yes. All our battery systems are required to meet regulations for licensed electrical works that include Australian Standards such as AS/NZS3000 (Wiring Rules), AS/NZS 4777 (Inverter Standard) and AS/NZS 5139 (Battery Installation Standard). The batteries also meet Australian and international safety standards and guidelines, and our battery system installs comply with Western Power Technical Rules and associated Western Power Manuals and Guidelines. Find out more about our guidelines and standards

The batteries contain Lithium Ion, which is the most common battery makeup with proven performance. They have a lifespan of 15+ years.

We have developed a panel of providers that includes Australian suppliers, however key components are sourced overseas. Most of the current fleet are Tesla models, and we partner with local installers West Australian Alternate Energy.

Not at the moment, although they do help balance supply and demand and maintain voltage. This is a possibility we’re exploring for the future.

The 13 community batteries are allowing us to test and learn to ensure we maximise the value of any future batteries we install. We are currently planning future roll outs based on learnings from these 13 initial batteries.

We also have 58 stand-alone power systems (SPS) installed across the grid and they are comprised of solar panels, a battery and a backup generator. We are installing a further 90-100 SPS in 2021.

We are hoping to have more batteries installed on the network in the next 6-12 months. They may look different to the ones we have now and may not include the customer product (individual virtual solar storage). However, any batteries that are rolled out will provide similar network and community benefits to the batteries currently on the network.

Community batteries have been installed in Perth metro and in regional areas, including Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Vasse and Margaret River. Once the community battery trial is validated and refined further, we expect to expand the roll out across metro and regional areas.

The batteries we have installed on the network are in areas that need additional support, such as suburbs with a lot of rooftop solar. While the batteries will not eliminate outages, they are designed to improve power quality and overall reliability.

Not yet, but we will continue to explore this possibility.

This is something we will be investigating in future deployments.

All customers in areas where community batteries are installed are still connected to the traditional network. That might be through an overhead connection (poles and wires) or an underground connection.

No. All households in the same area where a community battery is installed are ‘connected’ to the battery. While this doesn’t mean the household is physically connected to it, you still get the benefits of battery support - as community batteries smooth energy flows on the network, they improve power quality and allow more households to get rooftop solar.

However, only households with solar panels are invited to take part in the PowerBank community battery product. This allows them to virtually store their excess solar for later use. Only customers with a certain energy usage profile are... Read more

At the time we were seeking tender submissions for our community batteries, we didn’t received any suitable market offerings for WA manufactured batteries. The local companies considered all purchased manufactured components overseas and locally installed them. Our thirteen batteries were installed by a local company, West Australian Alternative Energy who are based in Busselton. The current batteries were the best value offering for the WA community at the time, though we’d love to have the option of WA manufactured in the near future!

Western Power owns and maintains the batteries. The current models last around 15 years.

Behind the meter (BTM) refers to energy systems, such as solar and battery storage, at your property. It describes energy equipment on the customer side of the electricity meter.

A customer can use their own energy generation, such as rooftop solar, and store it in the behind-the-meter battery (a home battery). The stored energy from the battery can be used before using the energy from the grid. Our battery trial in Margaret River is currently our only community battery that is behind the meter.

In front of the meter batteries are integrated into the electricity network. There are currently twelve on the grid and they support the network by smoothing energy flows.

A behind the meter battery sits on a customer’s property and is not integrated into the electricity network. Energy generation and storage are managed within the property meaning the homeowner increases their solar self-consumption rather than exporting solar to the grid. We currently have one behind-the-meter battery as part of a trial in Margaret River.

Both batteries work to balance energy flows by reduce peak load (energy ... Read more