Free Solar Panels and Tesla Batteries to Slash South Australians’ Domestic Bills

Tesla battery technology will enable the world's largest virtual power plant.

Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Powerwall

Household bills could be lowered by a third in South Australia where 50,000 solar panels and Tesla batteries are to be handed over free of charge.

As part of a four-year project, solar panels will be supplied and installed in the largest project of its kind.

The scheme is part of a tie-up between the South Australian government and Tesla, Elon Musk‘s business creation.

The cost will be borne by the sale of electricity generated by the panels, while the government-backed installer will have the chance to tap the same output to supply the national grid.

Data from Frontier Economics suggests the 250-megawatt system could lower household bills by as much as 30 percent.

The project is thought to be the biggest of its kind — scaling similar schemes including Canberra’s Reposit Power Virtual Power Plant, which connects 250 homes and businesses to the grid

A trial run of 1,100 Housing Trust properties is underway, with plans to roll out to 24,000 Housing Trust homes. This could then see at least 50,000 systems being installed across the region by 2022.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill commented: “More renewable energy means cheaper power for all South Australians.

“My government has already delivered the world’s biggest battery. Now we will deliver the world’s largest virtual power plant.”

The government will shortly issue an expression of interest for a subcontractor to fulfil the scheme.

“we will deliver the world’s largest virtual power plant.”

The national government has pledged a $2 million grant and a $30 million loan from the Renewable technology Fund to aid the rollout.

Social Housing Minister Zoe Bettison acknowledged the coordinated virtual power plant would help the most vulnerable, as it would “take pressure” off the day-to-day household budget.