It seems that the Tesla Tiny House tour was just a foretaste of what lay ahead for Australia, because the country Down Under is committing to solar power in a big way.
The South Australian government has announced a massive plan to roll out solar panels and Tesla batteries to 50,000 homes across the state, creating “the world’s largest Virtual Power Plant.” That’s in addition to holding the bragging rights for having the world’s largest lithium ion battery, also by Tesla.
Over the course of four years, a 5kW solar panel system and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery will be installed on homes in phases, beginning with a trial of 1,100 public housing properties (already underway), free of charge, with the sale of electricity covering the costs. After that trial, an additional 24,000 public houses will receive the systems, then a similar deal will be extended to all households in South Australia.
All told, the virtual power plant, established by turning homes into interconnected power generators, would yield 250 megawatts of solar energy and 650 megawatt-hours of battery storage, lowering the energy bills of participating households by 30 percent. Excess energy would be fed back into the grid, benefiting all South Australian households through lower energy prices and added energy stability.
The rollout is the next phase of the State Government’s Energy Plan, which was initiated after a state-wide blackout in 2016, and will be funded by a $2 million AUD grant ($1.58 million) and a $30 million AUD ($23.7 million) loan from the Renewable Technology Fund.