A groundbreaking residential battery storage trial is now up and running in the Western Australia suburb of Alkimos, supported by $3.3 million funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht congratulated Synergy, Lendlease and LandCorp on the timely Australian-first trial.

“A central 1.1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of lithium ion battery storage has been installed in two shipping containers in the suburb. It will store power from more than 100 rooftop solar PV systems,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Combining community-scale battery storage and rooftop solar presents a win-win for energy retailers, developers and consumers and can provide households with the benefits of storage without on-site installation and maintenance.

“Solar will work alongside battery storage to lower Alkimos Beach’s demand for electricity from the grid. This model has the potential to offer residents cheaper electricity bills and reduce grid connection costs for future new developments.”

Mr Frischknecht said the Alkimos trial was set to prove an innovative energy retailing model suited for the 21st century and the lessons learned would address gaps in existing knowledge, potentially paving the way for similar projects.

“There is also a need to better understand how solar and community-scale storage can operate within traditional networks. For example, right now there are no tariffs that allow community energy storage to discharge onto electricity networks,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The trial provides an opportunity for follow-on projects, particularly if similar models are adopted at other residential developments. If the approach becomes standard practice for new residential developments, this will increase the supply and use of renewable energy in Australia.”

The $6.7 million trial will run until 2020.