Japanese technology company Panasonic has announced a suite of partnerships to trial battery storage technology in Australia in the wake of Tesla’s home battery technology revelation.

The pilot projects with ActewAGL, Snowy Hydro’s Red Energy and Ergon Energy will see the 8kWh Panasonic battery, which is “around the size of a two-drawer filing cabinet”, incorporated into homes with solar panels.

According to Panasonic its technology could double the amount of solar energy consumed by a home – from an average of 30 per cent of total energy to 60 per cent.

Panasonic Australia managing director Paul Reid said demand response control technology would let retailers trial different charge/discharge programs to find the most effective storage solutions.

“Over the 10-year plus life cycle of the battery, our modelling is showing a significant reduction in the reliance of Australian households on the grid during peak periods,” Mr Reid said.

“The pilot projects are a first for Panasonic in Australia, and Panasonic’s battery demand response system will help distributors model peak shaving effects, realised through solar and battery storage systems and provide a cost effective alternative to grid infrastructure investments.

“For consumers, it means access to clean solar energy during the evening peak and potentially a lower energy bill. For the retailer, we can provide a levelling out of costs and potential competitive advantage with customers.”

The lithium-ion batteries, once charged, produce a two kilowatt output for four hours, which would allow self-generated electricity to be used during the evening peak.

Following the Tesla announcement, Australian energy retailers such as AGL have fast-tracked battery storage products as the world comes to grip with a major step-change in how energy is produced and consumed.

“Changing social trends and technological advances, particularly cost reductions in solar PV systems and now battery energy storage systems, will dramatically change – even revolutionise – the way electricity is supplied to and used by our customers,” Ergon manager emerging markets Glenn Walden said.

“Battery storage has the potential to provide residential customers with greater choice and control of energy use and could make our electricity network cheaper to operate in the long term.”

ActewAGL, which will trial the devices in Canberra in the second half of 2015, said it wanted to be part of the new emerging technologies.

“We have been working with Panasonic, the world’s leading battery company, for two years on how to make a trial of battery energy storage in Canberra a reality,” ActewAGL chief executive Michael Costello said.

Ramy Soussou, general manager regulatory and stakeholder relations for Red Energy said its customers were already seeking innovative energy products, and over a million households had turned to solar.

“It’s our business as an energy retailer to develop a choice of products and services for customers and deliver the new energy solutions they’re looking for,” he said.

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