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Tesla plans build virtual solar storage power plant

Tesla is embarking on a huge battery storage project that will build on its success on recent projects in Australia

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Tesla is embarking on a huge battery storage project that will build on its success on recent projects in Australia.

The company has won a deal for a 50,000-rooftop virtual solar photovoltaic (pv) plant with battery storage in South Australia.

The deal includes a trial installation of 1100 5-kW PV systems with 13.5 kWh Powerwall batteries on public housing properties.

24,000 additional properties owned by the Housing SA trust are planned to join the scheme, while up to 50,000 properties are planned to be added by 2022 after the scheme opens up to the public in 2019. A registration of interest has already been opened for those wanting to participate.

The state government said it will soon release a tender for a retailer to deliver the scheme, with a preference for bringing a new player into the market.

South Australia will help fund the AUD800m ($629m) project with an AUD2m grant and an AUD30m loan from its Renewable Technology Fund, with the rest funded through electricity sales.

Participants will receive PV panels and batteries for free, and the government estimates their potential savings at around 30 per cent off current energy bills.

Battery systems for grid-scale energy storage is more than coming into its own as being economically viable in optimizing the performance of gas turbines.

In a statement, Tesla said that “at key moments” the virtual power plant “could provide as much capacity as a large gas turbine or coal power plant”.  In concrete terms, with all 50,000 rooftop systems included, the project could produce up to 250 MW, or around 20 per cent of South Australia’s daily energy demand. 

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