Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant brings Powerwall to new homes in Australia

Tesla’s ambitious South Australia Virtual Power Plant project has entered its third phase, with the program now planning to add another 3,000 public housing assets to the developing solar and home battery network. With 3,000 home solar and Powerwall-equipped properties added to the scheme, Tesla’s VPP may begin offering grid support services equal to a reasonably sized battery storage system.

Phase 3 will allow the total number of households participating in the project to rise to about 4,100 state-wide Housing SA properties. Admittedly, this is only a small step towards Tesla’s target of building a Virtual Power Plant consisting of a 50,000 homes, but Phase 3 will put together about 20MW of rooftop solar power and 54MWh of combined battery storage.

Functioning as a single “power plant,” the Virtual Power Plant’s 4,100 houses could play the role of a battery installation that is just 11MWh less than the Hornsdale Power Reserve’s recent 50 percent expansion. In a statement to One Step Off The Grid, Energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan noted that the expansion of the Tesla VPP would address some of the power instability in the area.

“In a world-first, home batteries will provide the grid stability services that South Australia has lacked since the closure of the Northern Power Station, to address the legacy of instability that we inherited. This will deliver at a household level what we are also delivering through the 50% expansion of the big battery at Hornsdale Battery to address these legacy issues,” he said.

Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant ramp comes at a crucial time for South Australia, as the state is now on track to become the world’s first gigawatt-scale grid. Although this is a significant achievement in the State’s quest for sustainability, the rising amount of solar on the rooftop has become a major concern for the Australian Energy Market Operator. The rollout of the VPP-equipped Powerwall homes could then play a role in managing the enormous solar resource of the state.

“Having rooftop PV and household batteries linked through a Virtual Power Plant creates the equivalent of a grid-scale battery in our suburbs and towns, which will complement the four other grid-scale batteries already operating in South Australia. Tesla’s vision is to grow this VPP to include 50,000 homes across South Australia and has already started adding private households in addition to the Housing SA tenants participating in the project,” the minister said.

Tesla’s South Australia Virtual Power Plant has the potential to become one of the biggest battery systems. Once complete, it is anticipated the 50,000-strong system will provide 250MW of solar energy and store 650MWh of backup energy for the area. This is even larger than the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which is already disrupting South Australia’s energy landscape long before its upgrade of 50 percent.

Reported by Teslarati.

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