Broome community batteries to smooth the way for solar

December 03 2021

  • Two centralised community batteries to be installed in Broome to allow more customer rooftop solar to be installed
  • Customers will be able to access the community batteries rather than needing to buy their own battery storage

Horizon Power will commission two centralised community batteries in Broome early next year, delivering on its commitment to improve customer access to solar energy in the Kimberley township.

Current hosting capacity constraints limit how much rooftop solar Broome’s electricity network can accommodate without disrupting supply. This means some residents and businesses have been unable to connect rooftop solar systems.

Horizon Power has been working with the Broome community to develop a solution that meets the town’s growing appetite to install rooftop solar and help customers reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions.

The energy storage solution means excess energy generated by rooftop solar can be absorbed by the batteries, which simultaneously smooth the flow of energy back into the network. This will ensure reliability of power supply and allow for a greater uptake of rooftop solar.

The batteries will be installed at Broome North Primary School and at the corner of Port Drive and Cable Beach Road East. The two sites have been selected in partnership with the Department of Education and Shire of Broome respectively.

Together, the batteries will free up more than 1,400kW of hosting capacity, which will become available to Broome residents and businesses in February 2022.

The new batteries will also be the first to provide Horizon Power customers with a new Solar Smoothing Service capability.

Currently, customers with systems over 30kW capacity are required to install a smoothing battery. This ensures fluctuations in energy generated by their system does not impact network stability and reliability of power supply.

Horizon Power’s General Manager Customer Experience, Krystal Skinner, said batteries add significant cost to solar installations and require additional hardware to be installed at the customers premises.

“For a fixed daily fee, Broome customers will now be able to access Horizon Power’s community battery to provide solar smoothing instead,” Ms Skinner said.

“This new customer solution will make it easier for businesses to access solar energy by providing a cost-effective alternative to installing an onsite smoothing battery, removing the need for upfront costs, the land required, and the ongoing safety and maintenance commitments.”

“We are really proud of this new product, which is the result of dedicated collaboration with the Broome community. It’s just another example of how Horizon Power is delivering on its commitment to create innovative solutions that meet the changing energy needs of our customers.”

The Broome community batteries project is a part of Horizon Power’s $75 million Renew the Regions program, which is giving regional Western Australian towns better access to green energy and improved services.

Installation works will commence in January 2021, and the batteries are expected to be fully operational by February 2022.

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