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Community batteries

Community batteries

A PowerBank is a community battery situated in a local area that is shared by local subscribers. Each PowerBank subscriber has a storage capacity of 6kwh or 8kwh.

We currently have PowerBank’s running in Meadow Springs, Falcon and Ellenbrook.

Customers are allocated virtual storage in the battery. As their solar panels generate solar power during the day, up to 6kwh or 8kwh of excess or unused power is automatically transferred to the battery.

From 3pm to midnight households can draw energy back from the battery to power up their homes, covering the energy-use peak hours between 3pm and 9pm. At midnight, any excess power still in the battery is returned to the grid, with the householder paid the standard feed-in tariff.

We have been running an Australian-first trial in Meadow Springs where 44 customers were plugged into a community battery for a two-year period.

The participants could store their excess rooftop solar during the day in the community battery, and then use that power later when the sun was absent.

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.  

As each of the participating... Read more

If you have solar panels that are creating power when you are not home during the day, this solution may suit you. This solution may also suit you if you have been considering buying an in-home battery.

Can anyone get involved in a community battery?

You need to live in the local area and be invited to be part of a PowerBank trial. We will reach out to households with the right parameters of energy use and solar that is suited to a community battery and work through the recruitment process with interested households.

This solution has no upfront costs or lock-in contracts. It is around 30% cheaper than buying a 10kWh battery for your home (over the course of the battery’s lifespan), when considering a home battery system can cost between $8000 to $13,000. 

A community battery means you avoid spending years locked in a contract paying off an in-home battery, 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, home and infrastructure, so we want... Read more

You need to be within the council community area in order to access the PowerBank.

If you were looking at installing an in-home battery, yes. This solution is approximately 30 per cent cheaper than buying and installing your own battery. It will also likely save you money on your overall power bill. Synergy manages the billing.

You will be charged a daily subscription fee to the battery, 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.

We now have two PowerBank trials underway, one in Meadow Springs and one in Falcon with more potential sites being investigated.

PowerBank is still in the trial phase, so we are testing all possibilities to make sure this works for residents before committing. However, we are actively exploring opportunities with other councils in metropolitan Perth and expect to make more PowerBank site announcements in the coming year.

Community batteries like PowerBanks and grid integrated batteries like the one in Perenjori will play a big role of the future of our grid.

All trials operate in a similar manner, with minor changes to upcoming trials as we learn more about the type of customer the solution suits best, their typical battery storage needs, and the related pricing implications.

As we manage the grid, our role is to develop the project, find the optimal location for a battery for the community to benefit, install the equipment, ensure it is connected to the grid correctly and monitor the performance of the trial.

Synergy manages the customers involved with the PowerBank trial, so if you have questions about your power use or power bills, please call Synergy.

We are actively recruiting 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.

Customers can choose either the 6kWh or 8kWh battery which will cost $1.60 or $1.90 per day respectively. The PowerBank has a ‘time of use’ tariff which is a reduced charge rate against the current standard charge of 28.8c per unit (A1 tariff). You will require a meter upgrade which is at no cost to you. The meter will provide you with information on your energy use which you can track in the My Account section of the Synergy website.

There are several potential cost savings – firstly, the PowerBank allows you to store your excess solar energy without having to outlay significant costs to have your own home battery (approximately $10,000 to $15,000 for similar sizes). Secondly, the conversion to a ‘time of use’ tariff. In addition to being able to recall 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).

Based on the results from the Powerbank trial in... Read more

The PowerBank 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 or any type of battery storage may not benefit your household.

If at any point you find that the PowerBank is not for you (and it’s not for everyone) you can either change the plan you are on or disconnect from the PowerBank 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 having your own... Read more