Tesla Powerpack Community Battery Bound For WA’s Kalgoorlie

Tesla Powerpack - Kalgoorlie community battery

Image via Western Power

Kalgoorlie-Boulder is to have the Goldfields region’s first community battery that will enable more rooftop solar power to be installed and provide other benefits.

The 464 kilowatt-hour Tesla Powerpack battery system is to be integrated by Western Power into the local network, improving power quality and smoothing daytime and peak-time load periods.

Starting in October, Synergy will recruit 50 eligible regional customers to “virtually” store surplus energy generated by their solar power systems in the battery – up to 8kWh a day each. This will occur under the PowerBank scheme that is already operating in Falcon and Meadow Springs (suburbs of Mandurah), and in the Perth suburb of  Ellenbrook. The specs of those storage systems are:

  • Meadow Springs: 105kW/420kWh Tesla Powerpack
  • Falcon: 116kW/464kWh Tesla Powerpack
  • Ellenbrook:  116kW/464kWh Tesla Powerpack

Participation in the PowerBank trial at the current sites costs $1 to $1.90 per day. As previously mentioned, whether it’s good value or not – particularly for those paying the $1.90 and considering participating solar owners also forgo WA’s feed-in tariff for solar energy “banked” and then consumed – is debatable, but it’s cheaper than buying a battery system (for now).

Back In 2018, the McGowan Government completed an initial feasibility study into opportunities for solar in the region, and one of possibilities identified was establishing a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The use of a community battery was found to be the most cost-effective and most rapid way to test VPP waters.

“This is a great example of the way regional areas enthusiastically embrace new technologies, and a positive result from our Government’s feasibility study into opportunities for solar in the Goldfields,” said Western Australia’s Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan (pictured above).

Last month, the McGowan Government’s Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 passed State Parliament. Part of that bill included provisions to support Western Power’s use of stand-alone power and energy storage systems in the Great Southern, Goldfields, Wheatbelt, Mid-West and Geraldton regions; with batteries to assist in managing some of the challenges related to the high uptake of rooftop solar panels.

More Community Batteries To Come

This won’t be the last community battery to be rolled out by Western Power this year. According to the company, another 9 will be installed.

“We’re embracing change and using and developing new technology to do this from installing community batteries and advanced metering infrastructure, trialling smart technology in substations and streetlights, to developing data science modelling for pole top fires,” said Western Power’s Dave Fyfe early this month.

Western Power is a Western Australian State Government owned corporation. It builds, maintains and operates the electricity network in the south-west corner of the state. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder region is the easternmost point of its network.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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