Tesla was able to build world’s biggest battery in Australia last year. The company is now planning to build the world’s largest ‘virtual power plant’ by partnering with the South Australian government. Solar panels will be installed and Tesla Powerwall batteries will also be installed alongside on thousands of houses. The system that is being proposed will be allowing homes to generate electricity for their own usage and will feed it back to the country’s power grid when needed.
The state of South Australia faced many blackouts during the summer period of 2016. The issue leads the state government to launch a plan which will be useful to take charge of the state’s energy future. The main part of the plan was to build the world’s largest battery system which can store energy that is being gathered by South Australia’s extensive renewable sources. Tesla took the challenge of using a series of Powerpacks to build the facility. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, offered to build it within 100 days and met the deadline.
After installation, within a month the new battery system booted up and it proved its worth. It injected 100MW into the national grid to overcome the fault at a major coal-powered plant. The Powerpacks were able to respond to the shortage within 140 milliseconds. This is very quick as compared to the time it takes for emergency generations to start working which is almost 10 to 15 minutes. The system newly-announced is also designed to keep the grid stable. It will ensure stability by decentralizing electricity generation and storage. In the next four years, the South Australian government intends to install 5kW rooftop solar panel systems which will be coupled to 13.5kWh Tesla Powerwall 2 batteries in over 50,000 homes.
The panels and batteries will be installed and supplied for free to the users. However, they will be needed to pay for the electricity that they use. Economics analysts suggest that the households which will participate in this project will be saving almost 30% on their electricity bills. These houses will also won’t be facing any blackouts. If the Powerwall detects a disruption in the grid, the house will be given restored power from its own reserves. This will be done without causing any interruption. Not only these houses will be able to generate and store their own energy but they will also be forming the world’s largest virtual power plant by the government and Tesla. The virtual power plant will have a capacity of 250 MW.
If the energy generated by a house is more than its needs, the excess electricity from each home will be fed back into the main grid or will be stored in order to be drawn on in an emergency. The first trail for the virtual power plant is already underway and has 1100 Housing Trust properties who will receive the solar panels and powerwalls without any cost. After this is done, the system will be further installed at another 24000 Housing Trust properties before opening the offer to all the South Australian households.