Beacon Hill: Ausgrid battery trial could save residents hundreds

GREEN IDEAS: Liberal MLC Natalie Ward, mayor Michael Regan, Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean and (front) Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross at the official launch of the community battery in Beacon Hill on Monday. Picture: Nadine Morton
GREEN IDEAS: Liberal MLC Natalie Ward, mayor Michael Regan, Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean and (front) Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross at the official launch of the community battery in Beacon Hill on Monday. Picture: Nadine Morton

PLANNED upgrades of the electricity network around Beacon Hill will no longer be required thanks to a community battery that's expected to shave hundreds of dollars off residents' power bills.

The battery, located in Princess Mary Reserve, works by allowing local residents - who have solar panels - to store their excess solar power saving those connected up to $300 a year.

The installation is the first of its kind on Australia's east coast and is part of a multi-million dollar two-year trial by electricity distributor Ausgrid.

The Beacon Hill trial has enough capacity for 200 local households to join the initiative with 22 already signed up.

As Monday's launch Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said the initiative was a "win, win, win" for the community and environment.

"It's a win for customers with lower bills, it's a win for the community by sharing in an asset and it's a win for the environment by lower carbon emissions," he said. "It's all about reducing carbon in the economy and adding more renewables."

Locations in Beacon Hill where residents with solar power can take part in the Ausgrid community battery trial. Picture: Ausgrid

Locations in Beacon Hill where residents with solar power can take part in the Ausgrid community battery trial. Picture: Ausgrid

Mr Gross said Beacon Hill was chosen for the trial due to local "network issues" and the number of homes in the area that already have solar panels.

"There are network issues that we can help address," he said. "It's associated with the load and the voltage around this area, because of the solar panels that are here we can actually help address those issues.

"It's not outages, it's future upgrades that we have to do, it's cheaper for us to use a battery as an alternative than actually doing those upgrades that are required."

Mr Gross said the community battery will potentially save households the expense of installing their own individual battery which can cost up to $14,000.

NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean said the initiative was a positive step forward for households with, or considering installing, solar panels.

GREEN IDEAS: The community battery in Princess Mary Reserve at Beacon Hill. Picture: Nadine Morton

GREEN IDEAS: The community battery in Princess Mary Reserve at Beacon Hill. Picture: Nadine Morton

"The ability to store that cheap, renewable energy and use it at times of the day when the sun's not shining and prices are more expensive is a win for all those people that have rooftop solar," he said.

Mayor Michael Regan said 11,000 northern beaches households already have solar panels, but the cost of an individual battery can be a deterrent for some.

"This has got a big future in front of it because apart from lowering power prices it also does a lot of other things such as zero emissions which our community is very passionate about," he said.

Liberal MLC Natalie Ward, who represents the northern beaches in the NSW Parliament's Upper House, said this initiative makes sense "not only for the environment but for our household budgets".

"This initiative can ensure that starting today our residents can have cheap, reliable, efficient, renewable energy as part of our grid, part of our lifestyle," she said.

  • Find out more about the Beacon Hill community battery trial
  • Considering installing solar try out Northern Beaches Council's SunSPoT. This tool helps you calculate how much electricity and money a Solar PV system could save your home or business.

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