We have been running an Australian-first trial in Meadow Springs where 49 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 households having their own advanced meter, trial participants also learned more about their own energy use.
The Meadow Springs trial allowed us to test the physical capabilities and needs of the batteries and infrastructure, which has proven to be both robust and efficient.
We’ve also learned that the PowerBank solution works particularly well for households who make a lot of solar energy during the day, but are not home to use it. It’s also shown to be up to 30 per cent 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, or any type of battery, will not likely benefit your household.
From a network perspective, community batteries have demonstrated 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.