Tesla’s virtual power plant to go ahead in SA


Tesla’s proposed plan to build the world’s largest virtual power plant (VPP) in South Australia has been given the green light.

The $800 million project, announced in February by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former SA Premier Jay Weatherill, would see solar panels and batteries installed on 50,000 homes.

The 250MW/650MWh project involves installing 5kw of rooftop solar and a Tesla Powerwall 2 unit on 50,000 low-income and social housing units across the state over the next four years.

Doubt was cast over whether the plan would go ahead under the newly elected Liberal state government, led by Premier Steven Marshall.

In its election campaign, the Liberal government announced its own plan to offer discounts on battery storage units in 40,000 homes.

However, speaking at the Australian Energy Conference last week, new Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan announced the newly elected government would proceed with both plans.

“It’s very important to be clear about this — we are honouring the existing commitments around the Tesla virtual power plant (VPP),” he said, according to ABC News.

“The VPP project is currently proceeding with the two trial phases as planned. The trial phases involve installation of home energy systems on 1100 Housing SA homes.

“These are supported by a $2 million grant and a $30 million loan from the state government.

“Subject to private finance, and the first two phases’ success, the third phase could grow to up to 50,000 home batteries connected to new solar installations, and this is in addition to our government’s 40,000 home election commitment.”

Once complete, the South Australia VPP could feature up to six times more energy capacity than Tesla’s 100 MW/129MWh Powerpack farm near Jamestown.

The test installation of solar panels and Powerwall 2 units on the first 1100 homes is expected to be completed by 2019.esd