Tesla has teamed with the South Australian government to build what they’re saying will be the “world’s largest virtual power plant.”
As part of this plan, at least 50,000 home solar and battery systems will be installed across South Australia, forming a 250MW/650MWh virtual power plant capable of meeting around 20 percent of the state’s energy needs.
“A virtual power plant is created by a network of home solar … and battery systems all working together to generate, store and feed energy back into the grid,” the South Australian government explained Sunday. “Instead of being in one location, the systems are spread over thousands of houses.”
During the initial trial phase, 5kW solar panel systems and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries will be installed at 1,100 public housing properties for free. Then, another 24,000 public properties will be hooked up, before a similar deal is offered to all South Australian households.
The idea is to hook up at least 50,000 households over the next four years.
Energy from the home solar and battery systems will power the houses on which they are installed. Any excess energy that is generated by the system will go back to the grid.
“This dispatched energy will be centrally controlled to meet the needs of the grid, providing additional energy to the rest of the state, when it is required,” the government explained. The virtual power plant is expected to reduce participating households’ energy bills by around 30 percent.
This new renewable energy project comes after Tesla partnered with South Australian government last year to build the “world’s largest lithium-ion battery,” which provides enough power for more than 30,000 homes. They embarked on that project following a major blackout in September 2016 they left 1.7 million South Australians without electricity. The new virtual power plant is expected to be about 2.5 times the size of that project.
In the US, meanwhile, Tesla is partnering with Home Depot to sell its Powerwall and Solar Roof products directly to consumers, ExtremeTech reports.