South Australia has done a fresh batteries deal with Tesla— this time to provide the US firm’s Powerwall 2 units free to up to 50,000 homes to create the “world’s largest virtual power plant”.
The state government will provide one of the 13.5kWh lithium-ion batteries to each home as part of the solar-energy storage project.
A trial of the scheme, which couples the batteries with 5kW solar panel systems, has begun with 1,100 of homes rented out at low cost by the state.
The batteries will be installed at no charge to residents and financed through the sale of electricity back to the grid, the government said.
Following the trial, the scheme will be extended to a further 24,000 South Australia Housing Trust homes and then a similar deal offered to all homes in the state— with a plan for at least 50,000 households to participate over the next four years.
The state is supporting the rollout with a grant of AUD2 million ($1.5m) and an AUD30m renewable technology fund loan.
The initiative follows the deal struck with Tesla boss Elon Musk last year to install a 100MW battery in the state.
South Australia premier Jay Weatherill said: “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 benefitting with significant savings in their energy bills.”
Meanwhile, a 4.2MWh lithium-ion battery is to be used to support a solar microgrid project being built in South Australia to make the state capital’s biggest wholesale fruit and vegetable market “self-sufficient”.
South Australia energy minister Tom Koutsantonis did not say who would supply the battery that will form part of the AUD10.5 million ($8.1m) microgrid, along with 1,600 solar panels and a 2.5MW onsite generator, to support the South Australian Produce Market at Pooraka, in Adelaide.
The energy storage initiative is the latest to be embraced by state leaders in South Australia, where a 100MW lithium-ion Tesla powerpack went on line at the end of 2017.