A series of community-scale batteries will be installed across the inner-city suburbs of Melbourne, in a joint venture between local network distribution company CitiPower and the not-for-profit Yarra Energy Foundation.
The project, which is currently in its first phase of modelling and planning, aims to develop and roll out a “new” model of community battery ownership that will provide customer, community and network benefits, including acting as a “solar sponge” in areas of high rooftop PV uptake.
On the customer side of the equation, the newly announced project will help to overcome one of the key barriers to home battery uptake in Australia – prohibitive cost.
“Shared batteries are a smart solution to give households and businesses reliable and affordable energy when they need it,” said Yarra Energy Foundation CEO Dean Kline in a statement on Tuesday.
For the network, said Kline, the shared battery network would work absorb excess rooftop PV generation during the day and release it during peak times and at night, offering a grid balancing service that would also deliver benefits to the broader community, in terms of grid and price stability.
For Australian network companies, finding ways to manage the rapidly growing share of rooftop-generated solar power has become a race against time, particularly in hotspots like Western Australia and South Australia, the latter of which has seen solar provide more than 100 per cent of local demand.