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Interesting insights from our recent community battery survey

Last year, we had the privilege of being selected as one of the six esteemed beneficiaries of the Yarra Trams Community Partnership Program for 2023. This saw our community battery-themed tram grace the network, capturing the attention of countless commuters and passersby over its four-month journey, including the bustling month of January during the Australian Open.

The stunning tram (pictured above) emerged as the focal point of our campaign aimed at amplifying awareness of community batteries and the myriad benefits they can offer to both residents and networks. Our initiative urged all to ‘harness the sun with community batteries.

The tram artwork was illustrated by local artist, Hayden Dewar for our Fitzroy North community battery and depicts humanoid characters called ’solarquins’, that are powered by the sun and care for the planet. The tram was designed by a team at local consultancy, Ellis Jones, who create social impact through award-winning research, strategy, communications and design.


As part of this campaign, we launched an engaging and enlightening quiz, designed to hear individuals’ understanding and level of support for the innovative technology.

The quiz was completed by nearly 200 participants, providing exciting insights into the public’s perception of community batteries.

The findings offer a glimpse into public perception of novel energy solutions, emphasising the importance of educational initiatives in fostering broader acceptance and support for emerging technologies. Below, we highlight some of the most compelling insights from the quiz.

Familiarity of community batteries

Interestingly, over 50% of respondents claimed they knew the basics of the idea of a community battery. This may be a consequence of the increased media coverage in recent months, reading through the YEF website prior to taking the quiz, or simply skewed by the type of personal who participates in a community battery themed quiz.

Support for a battery in respondents neighbourhoods

One of the most encouraging results from the survey was that over 96% of respondents were ‘supportive’ of a community battery being installed in their neighbourhood.

The majority (82.5%) of respondents selected ‘strongly supportive’ of a neighbourhood battery being installed in their neighbourhood.

YEF are hopeful that following quiz participation many users went on to discuss community batteries with their peers and even their local Council.

Community support for batteries is critical for establishing social license to install them. Greater awareness and knowledge are also likely to significantly reduce the risk of negative responses and resistance, while cultivating a more culturally accepting and supportive environment for future projects.

Ranking potential community battery benefits

The potential benefits of community batteries likely had the most varied responses from the entire survey, showcasing varying priorities within the energy sector.

However, supporting the transition to clean energy emerged as the most important benefit, with 67% of participants rating it as their highest priority. Additionally, 18% considered it the second most important advantage. YEF sees this as another encouraging result, highlighting users understanding of the bigger picture of our energy system and how community batteries can potentially play an important role.

Concerns with a community battery installations

When asked about any possible concerns regarding the installation of a battery in their neighbourhood, more than 55% indicated they had no concerns.

The primary concerns amongst others included insufficient community engagement and cost of project.

Below are some of the most noteworthy responses listed under “other“:

  • “Not done soon enough – it needed to be done yesterday”
  • “Make community batteries standard for new housing developments.”
  • “Access for Apartment Dwellers and Renters”
  • “How can renters benefit, and especially those in low socio-economic situations? Can funding target community connections for all residents?”
  • “It is too slow. Why is there only 1 in Yarra?”


A significant outcome of the Yarra Trams CPP also includes a strengthened partnership between YEF and Yarra Trams. Through this relationship, YEF and Yarra Trams have, separate but additional to this campaign, won funding from the Victorian Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) to investigate business cases for up to 14 neighbourhood batteries.

This unexpected opportunity arose organically through our two organisations’ interactions, which could, if successful under the Victorian Government’s next 100 Neighbourhood Batteries funding round, result in the deployment of a dozen more neighbourhood batteries to support the electricity networks and the renewable energy transition. The business cases are expected to be completed in the second half of 2024.

Also, our campaign was sponsored by Lug + Carrie e-bike rental service, who awarded one lucky participant a 6-month subscription to their service.

This partnership came about from both YEF and L+C’s aligned values for more sustainable communities.

We’d once again like to thank all our collaborators and partners in this project:


The Road Ahead

As we look to the future, it’s clear that community batteries are still in their infancy. The insights from our survey suggest a strong foundation of support and interest in expanding the scope and scale of community energy storage solutions. By continuing to foster partnerships, engage with our community, and advocate for supportive policies, we can pave the way for a more sustainable, resilient, and community-centric energy future.