Sustainable Energy

Tesla batteries are part of a massive 'virtual power plant'

Key Points
  • The scheme will involve at least 50,000 homes in South Australia.
  • Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries have already been fitted to properties.
Mark Brake | Getty Images

Thousands of home solar and battery systems are set to be introduced in South Australia, creating what authorities are calling world's biggest "virtual power plant."

The initiative has begun with a trial involving more than 1,000 homes, the office of Jay Weatherill, South Australia's premier, said Sunday.

The scheme is being rolled out in phases. Initially, five kilowatt solar panel systems and 13.5 kilowatt hour Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries have been fitted to 1,100 properties. The homes will not be charged, with the systems financed through the sale of electricity.

Eventually, the plan is for at least 50,000 homes to take part in the scheme over the next four years.

"We will use people's homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefiting with significant savings in their energy bills," Weatherill said in a statement Sunday. "Our energy plan means that we are leading the world in renewable energy and now we are making it easier for more homes to become self-sufficient."

In 2017, authorities in South Australia announced details of their Energy Plan. The plan aims to deliver cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy to people in the state.

Part of the plan included building a massive battery to store renewable energy and provide "back-up power" as and when necessary. Tesla and French renewable energy company Neoen won the contract to deliver the project.

Musk committed to deliver the battery within 100 days of the grid interconnection agreement being signed, or it would be free. The battery was eventually delivered in November 2017, after only 63 days.