Can power-storage batteries help avoid costly network upgrades?

Homeowners in Adelaide’s north are being targeted for Australia’s largest suburban trial of power-storage batteries.

SA Power Networks wants around 100 Salisbury residents to go off grid, so it can avoid a $3 million network upgrade.

The state’s electricity operator will heavily subsidise the batteries, which cost about $10,000 to $20,000, but will be supplied for less than $3600.

A $3 million allowance from the Australian Energy Regulator will help fund the trial along with money from SA Power Networks.

Letters are being sent to 2500 customers asking them to purchase the Tesla and Samsung batteries, which were chosen through a tender process.

Eligible customers will need to use a minimum of 4000kW hours of annual grid electricity — or 2500KWh a year on solar panels — and be connected to one of the powerlines being targeted in the trial. They will also need to have maximum of 3kW of solar panels, with SA Power Networks offering to help foot the bill for those who need to buy them.

SA Power Networks said the trial will determine whether or not combining solar with battery storage can help networks avoid investing in the network and, therefore, keeping costs down for customers.

SA Power Networks hopes to begin installing the batteries by June.