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South Australia, Tesla to build virtual power plant to lower electricity bills

CTBR Staff Writer Published 05 February 2018

The state of South Australia has partnered with Tesla to roll out a network of about 50,000 home solar and battery systems to form a virtual power plant.

The trial has already begun with 1100 Housing SA properties and a 5kW solar panel system and a 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery will be installed at no charge to the household. The installations will be financed through the sale of electricity.

Following, the trial, a further 24,000 systems will be installed at Housing Trust properties and finally a similar is expected to be offered to all South Australian households.

According to analysis by Frontier Economics, the 250MW plant is expected to reduce energy bills for participating households by 30%.

For this programme, the state government will be spending A$2m ($1.59m) in grants and A$30m ($23.8m) in loan from the Renewable Technology Fund.

The state government said that this programme is the next phase of its Energy Plan, which is already making the state self-sufficient through a massive lithium-ion battery and the solar thermal plant.

The virtual power plant is claimed to be the biggest of its kind in the world and it is much bigger than Canberra’s Reposit Power Virtual Power Plant, which connects 250 homes and businesses to the grid.

Premier Jay Weatherill said: “More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians. We will use people’s homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefitting with significant savings in their energy bills.

“Our energy plan means that we are leading the world in renewable energy and now we are making it easier for more homes to become self-sufficient.”

Image: South Australia and Tesla partner to install solar panels and batteries on rooftops. Photo: Courtesy of RK008/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.