A reserve in one of Melbourne’s western suburbs will soon
The growing use of rooftop solar means power can now move in both ways – thousands of homes can now generate power and export it back into the network.
The neighbourhood battery will enable solar customers to get the benefit of energy storage without having to pay for a battery at home.
The neighbourhood battery means the network will have improved reliability – meaning less outages and fewer disruptions – as well as paving the way for future solar customers to connect to the network.
There will be no increase on network charges as a result of this project, and over time, batteries will help reduce network charges for all customers, by reducing the need for more costly network upgrade works.
This battery will allow customers to share their rooftop solar with others, reduce emissions and allow the community to contribute to a clean energy future.
Gleneagles Avenue Reserve, Tarneit
Frequently asked questions
What is a neighbourhood battery?
A neighbourhood battery is a large battery, usually the size of an electric car, that is connected to the same powerlines as your home. The battery stores energy produced by the sun during the day so that it can be available in the evening when people need it.
Neighbourhood batteries play an important role in more evenly distributing energy generated by solar so that once it is captured, it can be used by the community. Watch the video below to find out more:
What does this project involve?
Powercor has installed a neighbourhood battery in Tarneit to allow residents to share their rooftop solar with their community to help reduce emissions and maximise the capacity of solar power.
The battery will soak up excess rooftop solar generated during the day and will help supply up to 170 nearby homes with power.
Powercor worked closely with the Victorian Government and Wyndham City Council to ensure the battery meets community needs and that residents can provide feedback to ensure the battery visually reflects neighbourhood values.
What are the benefits? And who will benefit?
The battery will benefit everyone in the area, even if they don’t have solar power – watch the video below to find out more:
The neighbourhood battery will store 120kW (or 360kWh) of power and will directly service an estimated 170 customers with a combined export capacity of at least 129,600kWh (and up to 216MWh) per year.
For customers with rooftop solar, the battery will help them get the most out of their investment.
Not everyone who wants to use solar can afford a personal battery. By operating a neighbourhood battery, we are providing greater access to the benefits of solar power.
Neighbourhood batteries are also a way for everyone to participate in a clean energy future, whether or not they have solar on their roof. The whole community connected to the network will benefit from the efficient harnessing and distribution of solar power.
The neighbourhood battery is also a key way to make sure our network is robust and reliable. As Tarneit continues to grow, this battery will help reduce constraints on the network.
By installing neighbourhood batteries in network constrained areas, we can save money that otherwise might have been spent on upgrades to our networks, which would be substantially more expensive than installing this battery.
As a fully regulated business, any savings Powercor makes are shared with our customers in the form of reduced network tariffs.
How was the location selected?
To select an appropriate location for the community battery, we considered:
Tarneit and the surrounding suburbs have a high rate of solar connections. The neighbourhood battery will help ensure our network has the capacity to service both existing and future solar customers to make the most of their investment in renewable energy.
Multiple sites across Tarneit were assessed and Gleneagles Avenue Reserve was selected due to the surrounding homes having the greatest benefit considering existing network constraints and solar power use. The location was also found to have low levels of foot and vehicle traffic comparatively to other sites and the size of the reserve and current low level of infrastructure also allow for further landscape design at the battery site.
How is this being funded? Who will operate the battery?
The major funding contributor to the Electric Avenue Tarneit project was the Victorian Government through its Neighbourhood Battery Initiative.
Powercor also invested in the technology and control systems and is providing the resources to design, build and commission the battery.
The battery is owned and maintained by Powercor as part of its electricity network infrastructure.
What impact will this have on power bills?
There will be no increase in our network charges due to this project.
In fact, over time, we expect neighbourhood batteries like this will actually help reduce network charges for all customers by reducing the need for more costly network works.
Network charges are just one part of customers’ electricity bills from energy retailers. Other activities outside this project affect power prices and will continue to do so.
Tell me more about the battery. How does it work?
The battery will charge at times of the day when there is low electricity demand or when local rooftop solar systems are exporting into our network. The peak times when most people use power from our network are between 3pm and 9pm, Monday to Friday.
Power from the battery can be used by households later in the day when demand is high and solar systems are no longer generating power.
What does it look like?
Neighbourhood batteries are rectangular boxes about the same size as a small electric vehicle mounted to the ground. The exact size and dimensions of the Tarneit Neighbourhood battery are being determined.
A ground-mounted battery looks like a set of cabinets. It has thermal insulation and is divided into sections, with some cabinets equipped with air conditioning system to maximise life expectancy of the batteries.
Batteries like this are designed to withstand high temperatures, corrosion, dust, insects and humidity. The exterior is coated with aluminium steel and is secure.
Inside the cabinets, there are vertical racks that each contain several battery modules and battery management systems to monitor and control the modules.
Is the battery noisy?
Neighbourhood batteries emit a low-level humming sound like many electrical appliances and infrastructure. The low ‘hum’ is like the sound you hear when you stand close to a refrigerator or freezer.
The battery manufacturers build safety into the design of their infrastructure and test batteries to ensure any sound levels emitted meet all relevant guidelines and requirements set by the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
Are neighbourhood batteries safe?
Yes, the battery that Powercor has installed is safe – watch the video to find out more.
How long can the battery be expected to last?
Most components of the battery are designed for a lifespan of a minimum of 10-12 years.
As battery technology evolves, Powercor will explore options to replace parts and functions to extend the lifespan of the battery.
What happens when the battery reaches the end of its life?
Powercor already has recycling plans in place with battery designer, Pixii, and the battery manufacturer, Polarium.
At the end of the battery lifecycle, Polarium will take the batteries and re-purpose them to be reused in other industries, or they will break down the battery and reuse the minerals as much as possible.
Using innovative recycling technology that allows the treatment of the battery materials, scrap from the battery can be processed and recycled with a 95% recovery rate.
Minerals such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium can be recovered for use in new batteries, while other materials such as aluminium, copper and plastics are sent to local recyclers for further processing.
What’s next? Is Powercor installing more neighbourhood batteries in other places?
The battery in Tarneit is Powercor’s first neighbourhood battery. We will continue working with community groups and all levels of government to identify the most feasible sites for future batteries.