(REPOST: Energy Storage)

Virtual power plants (VPP) take the capabilities of several home or commercial solar-plus-storage systems and aggregate them together to form a bigger grid or capacity resource than would otherwise be possible.

Starting with 600 homes this year, South Australia’s government wants to install “up to” 50,000 solar and battery storage systems in the region and connect them to form a VPP, storage system supplier Tesla confirmed in a statement to Energy-Storage.News this morning.

“When the South Australian Government invited submissions for innovation in renewables and storage, Tesla’s proposal to create a virtual power plant with 250MW of solar energy and 650MWh of battery storage was successful,” the spokesperson said.

The project begins on a trial basis, with each home to be fitted with 5kW of solar PV and a 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery system. Jay Weatherill, premier of the state of South Australia, issued his own statement which said the project would be paid for through electricity sales and that households would not be charged for taking part.

Initially, 1,100 homes overseen by the state Housing Trust will be equipped, before installations at a further 24,000 of the Trust’s properties, before the plant is rolled out over the next four years to include “at least” 50,000 households, Weatherill’s office said. Analysis by consultancy Frontier Economics found the 250MW solar plant could lower consumer bills by 30%, while deploying solar could lock in savings and price stability for customers over a number of years.

The VPP, part of South Australia’s Energy Plan, will receive a AU$2 million (US$1.6 million) state government grant and a AU$30 million loan from the state’s AU$150 million Renewable Technology Fund, which assists investment in clean energy and demand management. The state government has opened the VPP up to registrations of interest from members of the public – while also planning to issue a market notice later this week to find a retailer to roll out the programme.

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