Tesla is on to do something great. They are about to open a huge power plant using only their own solar panels and batteries. But we’re not really talking about a normal, conventional power plant, we’re talking about a network of around 50,000 South Australia homes which will receive Tesla batteries and solar panels and thus turning themselves into a giant, interconnected power plant.
In South Australia you can already find the biggest battery in the world, also linked to a Elon Musk project that provides energy to more than 30,000 houses. Now, they’re on to a bigger project. The network of solar panels and rechargeable batteries will be given to households for free and then they will be paid for from the excess of electricity that the network will provide after it is all running.
“My government has already delivered the world’s biggest battery, now we will deliver the world’s largest virtual power plant. We will use people’s homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefiting with significant savings in their energy bills”
said state Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.
The project will start with 1,110 public housing properties that will receive a 5kW solar panel system with Tesla batteries. Provided everything goes right, in the second phase of the project, another 24,000 public housing properties will receive the system.
In the next 4 following years, the scheme will be opened to other South Australians. The project will initially be supported by the state government using a $1.6 million grant and a $30 million loan from a taxpayer renewable technology fund of their own. We’re talking about American dollars.
According to Tesla, the new giant, virtual power plant will provide 250 megawatts of solar energy and 650 megawatt hours of battery storage. “At key moments, the virtual power plant could provide as much capacity as a large gas turbine or coal power plant”, said an official of the company.
Australia needs this sort of projects, since 60% of their electricity is generated through coal and only 14% comes from renewables. Taking into account the closing of several old coal-fired power plants, Australia is at risk of a domestic energy shortage so it is a good plan that they turn to renewable energy.