Tesla to create world’s largest ‘virtual power plant’ in Australia

The state of South Australia announced plans to work with Tesla to create the world's largest "virtual power plant" by connecting about 50,000 solar-powered homes to an electricity grid. Photo by Tesla/UPI

Feb. 6 (UPI) — U.S. automaker Tesla plans to connect thousands of solar-powered Australian homes to create a decentralized electrical network across the country.

The state of South Australia announced plans Sunday to equip as many as 50,000 homes with solar panels and Tesla battery storage units and connect them to an electricity grid to form the world’s largest “virtual power plant.”

“Beginning with a trial of 1100 Housing Trust properties, a 5kW solar panel system and 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 battery will be installed at no charge to the household and financed through the sale of electricity,” the government said.

More than 6,500 South Australian households have signed up to register their interest in participating in the program, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Participants will benefit from a 30 percent drop in electricity costs while also generating energy for the South Australian grid, the government said.

The state is assisting with the rollout of the project through a $1.6 million grant and a $24 million loan from the Renewable Technology Fund.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously worked to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery which has been powering South Australia since December.

Musk said the battery will help solve the state’s power shortage problems and assist during summertime peak loads.


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