Three community batteries will be installed on Ausgrid’s network in 2021 as part of phase one of its Community Battery Trial.
The battery locations will be in the Northern Beaches City Council, City of Canterbury Bankstown, and Lake Macquarie City Council local government areas.
A community battery is shared by customers who have a solar panel system and are connected to the same local Ausgrid network. Customers connected to a community battery can use it to store their excess solar power and access it as needed later that day or night.
Customers must have solar to participate in the trial. Ausgrid will own and maintain the battery.
Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said the first phase of the trial could drive solar uptake and increase production of renewable energy.
“At Ausgrid we’re constantly looking for innovative ways to make energy more affordable for our customers while supporting a sustainable future and I believe this community battery trial will be a game-changer for our industry,” Mr Gross said.
“As the name suggests a community battery will allow communities to share the energy their solar panels generate without having to pay for their own storage battery at home.
“Customer expectations around how they use energy are changing so we have been developing this trial in close consultation with our network innovation and customer consultative committees.”
A community battery allows solar customers to use all the clean energy they generate, save on their electricity bills, and get more value from their solar investment, without needing to own and maintain their own household battery system.
Solar customers benefit from avoiding battery installation and maintenance costs and can choose unique storage levels for their individual needs.
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“Joining this trial requires no upfront investment for our customers compared to installing their own battery and will provide a great option to save on energy costs,” Mr Gross said.
“We want to be part of a green energy future and it’s our ambition to deliver industry-leading sustainable energy solutions for our customers.”
Community batteries encourage greater solar uptake by households and businesses, increasing the amount of renewable energy in the system, which can reduce peak demand and help distributors like Ausgrid place downward pressure on energy prices.
Earlier this year, Ausgrid commissioned KPMG to consider whether the initiative would be a feasible alternative to traditional network investment. The study assessed a range of technical, commercial and regulatory issues and concluded the community battery project initiative could be feasible within as little as three to five years.
You can read the Feasibility Report and find out more about the project here.