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 everyone, which is why we identify customers who are likely to benefit from this product. Some customers are already using their energy efficiently, so this means battery storage in general may not be cost effective for them.
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.
City of Mandurah, Meadow Springs – PowerBank battery
City of Mandurah, Falcon – PowerBank battery
City of Swan, Ellenbrook #1 – PowerBank battery
City of Swan, Ellenbrook #2 – PowerBank battery
City of Wanneroo, Two Rocks – PowerBank battery
City of Wanneroo, Ashby - PowerBank battery
City of Canning, Canning Vale - PowerBank battery
City of Rockingham, Port Kennedy - PowerBank battery
City of Stirling, Yokine - PowerBank battery
City of Kwinana, Parmelia - PowerBank battery
City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Kalgoorlie-Boulder - PowerBank battery
A PowerBank is a community battery but with the added benefit of individual solar storage. This means that eligible households that have access to virtual storage in the battery to store their excess solar power. The locations of more community batteries hasn’t been confirmed yet. Potential locations have been identified and we’re currently investigating whether these locations will provide optimal benefit for customers and the grid.
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.
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.
We expect this to be available 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 invited to take part as not all customers would benefit from being part of a PowerBank trial.
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 usage) on the grid at certain times of day. So they help support the grid, improve power quality and allow further uptake of rooftop solar.
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.
A PowerBank is a type of community battery, situated in a local area, that is shared by eligible customers who generate solar energy. Each PowerBank customer has a storage capacity of 6kwh or 8kwh.
We currently have PowerBank batteries running in Meadow Springs, Falcon and Ellenbrook. These are in partnership with Synergy.
Customers are allocated virtual storage in the PowerBank battery. As their solar panels generate solar power during the day, they can automatically store up to 6kwh or 8kwh of excess or unused power in the battery.
From 3pm to midnight – when grid energy use is generally at its peak – households can draw energy back from the battery to power up their homes. At midnight, any excess power still in the battery is returned to the grid, with the householder paid the standard feed-in tariff.
In partnership with Synergy, we’ve been running an Australian-first two-year trial in Meadow Springs, Falcon and Ellenbrook.
Our initial trial in Meadow Springs allowed us to test the physical capabilities and needs of the batteries and infrastructure, which has proven to be both robust and efficient.
Participants could store their excess rooftop solar during the day in the battery, and then use the power later when they were no longer generating solar energy.
A range of customers with different household energy use patterns participated, with the battery cost highly subsidised. This gave us a chance to test what kind of household energy use best suits the battery solution, and how much excess power they needed to store.
Each of the participating households were also given an advanced meter, so they could learn more about their own energy use.
We’ve also learned that the PowerBank batteries work particularly well for households who generate a lot of solar energy during the day, but aren’t home to use it. It’s also proven to be up to 30% cheaper than buying an in-home battery.
However, the trial also demonstrated that if you have solar panels and efficiently use that energy during the day, a PowerBank battery, or any type of battery, isn’t likely to benefit your household, so battery storage is not an effective option for everyone.
From a network perspective, PowerBank batteries have shown to be an effective tool in helping the network cope with peak solar power generation in high solar areas like Meadow Springs, smoothing the flow of energy and reducing the chance of faults.
All trials have been operating in a similar manner, with minor changes along the way as we learn more about the type of customer the solution suits best, their typical battery storage needs, and the related pricing implications.
This solution has no upfront costs or lock-in contracts. It’s around 30% cheaper than buying a battery for your home (over the course of the battery’s lifespan). A home battery system generally costs between $8,000 to $13,000.
Having access to a PowerBank battery, means you avoid spending years locked into a contract paying off an in-home battery. You get the right size battery for your needs and, as its virtual, don’t need to find extra space in the garage to set the battery up.
This solution is also better for our grid. The grid powers our hospitals, schools, homes and infrastructure, so remaining connected benefits the entire community
Plus, a PowerBank battery increases the use of renewables during peak hours when the sun typically isn’t shining, so it’s contributing to a more renewable energy mix for WA.
As we manage the grid, our role has been to develop the project, find the optimal location for that benefits the community, install the equipment, ensure it’s connected to the grid correctly and monitor the performance of the trial.
We now have three PowerBank trials underway which includes 12 battery projects in total. These span across Perth metro and regional WA.
PowerBank batteries are still in the trial phase and we’re testing all possibilities to make sure this works for residents before rolling it out further. However, we’re actively exploring opportunities and investigating potential sites for any future PowerBanks.
Community batteries like PowerBanks and batteries as part of a microgrid, like the one in Perenjori, will play a big role of the future of our grid.
You need to be within the relevant council area in order to access the PowerBank battery.
You need to live in the local government area (LGA) where a PowerBank trial is being conducted and be invited to join.
We recruiting for people to be involved in each trial, based on what we know about the type of household the community battery suits. Our trial partner Synergy (as the retailer) will be in touch if we think your household is suitable for an upcoming community battery installation.
If you have solar panels generating power and you’re not home during the day to use it, this solution may benefit you. It may also suit you if you’ve been considering buying an in-home battery. As our advanced metering infrastructure develops, further data will be available to understand who suits battery storage.
It depends on your situation. If you were looking to install an in-home battery, yes. This solution is approximately 30% cheaper than buying and installing your own battery. It may even save you money on your overall power bill Synergy manages all billing for our residential customers.
The PowerBank battery is a useful green solution for customers who don’t consume much of their household solar energy. If you efficiently use your solar energy during the day, a PowerBank battery or any type of battery storage may not benefit your household.
If at any point you find that the PowerBank battery is not for you, you can either change the plan you’re on or disconnect from the PowerBank battery altogether. There are no lock-in fees or contracts and it provides a great way to see if battery storage is for you, without the heavy upfront and ongoing maintenance costs of owning a home battery.
In partnership with Synergy, we recruit for people to be involved in each trial, based on what we know about the type of household the community battery suits. We will be in touch if we think your household is suitable for an upcoming community battery installation.
There are several potential cost savings. The PowerBank battery allows you to store your excess solar energy without having to outlay significant costs to have your own home battery (approximately $8,000 to $10,000 for similar sizes).
For the PowerBank 3 trial, participants pay a daily subscription fee of $1.20-$1.40 to access the battery. The subscription fee is based on the size of virtual storage you have access to (6kWh or 8kWh) and Synergy will advise you of the recommended storage size based on your historical energy use data.
To withdraw your stored solar energy during peak periods, you will also gain access to ‘off-peak’ pricing between 9pm and 7am each day. Energy during this period is only 15.1c per unit compared to the standard 28.8c per unit (A1 tariff).
As part of a PowerBank battery trial, participants will need to upgrade to an at no cost. The meter will provide information on energy use which participants can track in the My Account section of the Synergy website.
Yes, an upgrade to an advanced meter is required to be part of the PowerBank trial, which will be provided at no cost to you.
Synergy manages the customers involved with the PowerBank battery trial. If you have questions about your power use or power bills as part of the trial, please call Synergy.
You’ll be charged a daily subscription fee to use the PowerBank battery, including your usual daily supply charge for the grid, plus time-of-use rates under Synergy’s Home Battery Plan for any electricity you use from the grid (excluding the battery usage)