The South Australia Liberal government is pioneering what is says is a “world-first” scheme that will see Tesla Powerwall battery storage units installed for free in public housing that does not have rooftop solar.
The Tesla batteries form part of phase 3 of the South Australia Virtual Power Plant that is being expanded to more than 4,100 homes. Nearly all of these homes, however, have rooftop solar, but the government has now decided to trial the installation of batteries in 20 public housing homes without solar.
“This is revolutionary trial, which could be a game changer for the thousands of South Australians who can’t benefit from solar power, and the latest example of South Australia’s international leadership on home batteries,” said energy ministerDan van Holst Pellekaan.
“If successful, this trial could be extended to properties that are otherwise unable to host solar.”
Van Holst Pellekaan said that 29% of all home batteries installed in Australia last year were installed in South Australia, thanks to the various programs run by the Marshall Government which has required suppliers to set up manufacturing or assembly plants in the state.
He expects the state to soon reach more than 20,000 household batteries, which will deliver more storage than the state’s – and the country’s – biggest big battery at the Hornsdale Power Reserve, aka the Tesla big battery.
The idea of the virtual power plants is to help soak up the excess supply of rooftop solar, which threatens to overwhelm the grid and bring “minimum demand” down to zero, or even below, and deliver power and system services when needed.
From that point of view, it doesn’t matter whether the household with a battery has rooftop solar or not, as long as it is charging and creating load and acting as a “solar sponge” during the day. At the end of the day, the batteries can be discharged, helping to reduce evening peaks.
“Tesla will use the plentiful supply of renewable electricity generated by South Australian’s world-leading uptake of roof top solar to charge the batteries for the evening peak when the sun sets,” the minister said.
The third phase of the South Australia VPP is being funded by the Marshall Government ($10 million), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency ($8 million), Tesla ($18 million), and with a $30 million loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
“South Australia is on track to achieve 100 per cent net-renewables by 2030 with the surge on household solar systems and home batteries making a significant contribution to that outcome,” van Holst Pellekaan said.
“The Marshall Government is delivering cheaper and cleaner electricity to South Australian households and businesses through its sensible energy policies that are managing the transition to 100 per cent net-renewables by 2030.