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Community Batteries

Community Batteries

30 per cent of Australian households, more than three million homes, have solar on their rooftop. 6 per cent of these households have solar batteries.

Batteries store excess solar energy and help to power households during the night or on cloudy days.

One popular tool for solar battery systems are virtual powerplants, which link thousands of batteries in an area. 

A new solution has entered the solar scene. Community batteries are big batteries that store energy for several properties.

This year the federal government will begin rolling out 400 community batteries.

Projects will begin between June this year and will be finished by 31 March 2025.

The first portion will be 13 batteries installed in Queensland, 15 in New South Wales, 3 in the Australian Capital Territory, two in South Australia, two in Tasmania, and six in Western Australia.

“We’ll have batteries up and running this calendar year,” Energy Minister Chris Bowen said.

Lachlan Blackall, head of the Australian National University’s Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program said those unable to install solar panels, such as renters and apartment owners will benefit from this form of energy storage.

Community batteries will also take pressure off the grid

When rooftop solar PV systems generate more power than is being used in the home or business the excess energy is exported to the wider grid.

Ausgrid, one of three electricity distributors in New South Wales, is trialling community batteries in areas with a high concentration of solar panels.

“[The batteries are] designed to solve local issues such as network constraints, over voltage associated with too much solar, and also contribute to the market response to decarbonisation,” Rob Amphett Lewis, Ausgrid’s Chief Customer Officer, said. 

He said the company would previously have dealt with an abundance of generation by increasing the size of wires and transformers.

“When you have significant amounts of solar, maybe 50 per cent of the local community having solar, then that’s when these sorts of issues can really crop up. And when this sort of solution really makes a lot of sense,” Mr Amphett Lewis said.

FAQs

Q: What are community batteries?

A: Community batteries are large-scale energy storage systems that are shared by multiple households or businesses in a community.

Q: How do community batteries work?

A: Community batteries store excess energy generated from sources like solar panels during periods of low demand. This stored energy can then be used during peak demand times or when renewable energy sources are not producing electricity.

Q: What are the benefits of community batteries?

A: Community batteries can help reduce strain on the electricity grid, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and provide backup power during outages. They can also help lower electricity costs for participants in the community program.

Q: How can I participate in a community battery program?

A: Participation in a community battery program typically involves signing up with a local energy provider or distributor. Participants may be able to access the stored energy in the community battery through a virtual power plant system or other arrangements.

Q: Are community batteries safe?

A: Community batteries are designed with safety features to prevent issues such as overheating or fires. They are typically installed and maintained by qualified professionals to ensure safe operation.

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