Community solar power bank in Western Australia breaks new ground

Community Power Bank set to offer Mandurah households new energy storage options.

An innovative trial in Mandurah, WA, will see a new community power bank offering households new energy storage options.

The 12-month trial will subsequently allow local customers with solar power panels the opportunity to ‘bank’ the excess power they create to use later.

Mandurah City Council unanimously voted to set up Meadow Springs Community Power Bank late last month. The bank aims to reduce electricity prices and drive a more sustainable energy future for the area.

A key objective is also to prepare Western Australia for a future where energy storage is an integral part of Australia’s energy market. Benefits are anticipated for:

  • Individual customers.
  • The electricity consumer group.
  • Network operator Western Power.
  • Local energy retailer Synergy.

Construction will shortly begin on a test site in Glenbrook Lane. Findings will then be collected by Western Power and shared with council.

Community power bank key to energy storage future

Community storage banks may solve the problem of a predicted over-supply of renewable energy in the future.

Community Power Bank in WA's City of Mandurah will give consumers new energy storage options.

Householders in WA’s Mandurah will soon have access to a Community Energy Bank. Image: City of Mandurah

As reported by ABC News this week, the boom in household solar installations across Australia could lead to a reduction in government subsidies.

An excess of solar-generated power could make it less cost-effective to sell back to the grid. This could then prompt a reduction in feed-in tariffs.

Because consumers now have a range of new energy storage options, however, feed-in tariffs may start to lose their appeal.

Rather than selling excess energy back to the grid, consumers can choose to use a community power bank or install their own solar battery storage systems. In effect, the make ‘withdrawals’ when their solar system needs topping up.

Feed-in tariffs and new energy storage technology

Feed-in tariffs for new residential customers are no longer offered by government owned retailer Synergy in WA. However, Synergy is operating a Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme which buys back energy from residential customers at 7.1350 c/kWh.

Across the country, new ‘time of day’ feed-in tariffs in Victoria range from 7.1 c/kWh off-peak to 10.3 c/kWh shoulder and 29 c/kWh during peak times. These come into effect in July. As a result, residents who request a solar quote are starting to investigate the recent advances in solar battery technology.

Sonnen batteries, for instance, offer outstanding German technology at prices well within reach for most households. They provide cost-effective ways for consumers to store excess electricity generated during the day.