Powercor helping communities share the sun

Homes with solar panels on rooftops (Powercor)

A community battery to support the growth of rooftop solar will be installed in Melbourne’s west by electricity distributor Powercor as part of the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative

Under the plan, Powercor will install a 150kW/388kWh battery in Tarneit that will allow customers to share their rooftop solar with others, reduce emissions and make the most of the strong local rooftop solar penetration in the area. 

The battery is designed to soak up excess rooftop solar generation and supply up to 150 nearby homes during peak periods, allowing the neighbourhood to share in the benefits of solar and more than two and a half hours battery storage. 

The Victorian Government will contribute $800,000 towards the cost of battery project. 

Powercor’s General Manager, Electricity Networks, Mark Clarke, welcomed the Victorian Government’s funding and support for the project. 

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“This battery will provide benefits for local customers, whether they have solar or not, by providing the community with access to local renewable energy, improving the reliability of electricity during peak demand times,” Mr Clarke said. 

“Solar is booming in Tarneit and this battery will allow more homes to connect and export excess solar from their systems back into the grid.” 

Tarneit and the surrounding suburbs have the highest number of solar connections in the Powercor network. In the 3029 postcode (Tarneit, Hoppers Crossing and Truganina), more than 13,800 customers have connected solar to the network, making up about 42 per cent of all customers in the area. 

It’s expected the new battery will enable an additional 121,800kWh of solar exports per annum in the area. 

Once installed, Powercor will also trial innovative tariffs to allow retailers to offer new products to customers and this project will help shape how community batteries may play a broader role in Victoria’s clean energy future. 

Powercor also thanked key supporters of the project, the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action and Wyndham City Council, which have been instrumental in pushing for community energy options in the western suburbs. 

Work will now begin with the community and council as well as retail partner, Simply Energy, to develop the plan to rollout the technology in Tarneit. 

Construction of the new battery is expected to begin this year and expected to be operational by June 2022. 

CitiPower and Powercor will also explore opportunities to locate community batteries across parts of Geelong, Bendigo and the Macedon Ranges, as well as Melbourne’s CBD, as part of a new study being funded by the Victorian Government. 

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The $150,000 study, funded as part of the Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative, will be developed with councils and community energy and greenhouse alliance groups across Victoria. It will examine the best locations for batteries, considering factors such as the community benefits and local power demand and network constraints. 

Work on the feasibility study, which will also include electricity distributor United Energy, will begin this year and is due to be complete in 2022. 

CitiPower and Powercor also look forward to working with a range of other successful recipients of grants for neighbourhood battery initiatives and studies across Central and Western Victoria, as part of our role in enabling and supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. 

Groups involved in the CitiPower and Powercor-led community battery feasibility study include Bayside City Council; Mornington Peninsula Shire; Manningham City Council; Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action; Melbourne City Council; Geelong Sustainability; Southern Otways Sustainable; Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce; Bendigo Sustainability Group; Hobsons Bay City Council; Moreland City Council; and Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group.