(REPOST: Energy Matters)

The aim of the trial was to see if battery storage could save customers money, and protect them from blackouts. Most customers achieved the predicted savings of more than $600 a year. They benefited from improved self-consumption of their solar output. To add to this, the customers also highly valued the use of backup power if needed in times of blackouts.

SA Power Networks chose 100 customers at Salisbury to receive a heavily subsidised home storage battery. Battery systems can store electricity from solar panels or the grid. Homeowners then use them at night, or when there is a blackout.

SA Power Networks won a national award from Energy Networks Australia for innovation for the solar battery trial. As a result, it has important information for the energy industry on the benefits of new technologies.

Why a Salisbury solar battery trial?
John Bradley, CEO of the Energy Networks Association, says 40 per cent of South Australia’s electricity is consistently coming from wind and large-scale solar.

Bradley says storing renewable energy is still a huge challenge across the country. “This initiative means they are using battery storage at the customer premises. Instead of investing in more poles and wires. This is really the way of the future.”

Salisbury was a perfect place for the trial. Energy demand was rising as older houses in the area were being replaced with units. New arrivals with growing families were buying them.

Customers in the trial used a minimum of 4,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of annual grid electricity. In other words, 2,500 KWh a year on solar panels. They were connected to one of the power lines chosen in the trial.

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