Solar energy is no longer just an experiment, thanks to companies, like Tesla, that are pushing for its mass commoditization. But by appealing to individual consumers only, the true potential of solar power is never reached. That is, it only benefits a single house. The government of South Australia is casting its net wider by trying to build the world’s largest virtual power plant that will be made of up 50,000 homes, each outfitted with solar panels and a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery.
This is the reason why it’s called a virtual power plant. Energy is generated not by a traditional power plant in a single location but by thousands of homes with solar panels and batteries installed. But unlike a traditional installation, the generated power will not only benefit that particular household but will be pooled together to be sold to the entire state.
This is definitely an ambitious undertaking, and the State Government doesn’t expect it all to fall into place instantly. The project will start out with 1,100 Housing Trust installations, followed by 24,000 more should that prove to be successful. The program will be open to privately owned houses by 2019.
Each house will be equipped with a 5 kW solar panel system and a 13.5 KWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery. The government expects the virtual power plant to generate 250 MW that will not only reduce the power bill of participating houses by 30% but will also improve the overall power situation in South Australia once all 50,000 are up and running by 2022.