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ARENA funds residential battery and rooftop solar systems across Adelaide

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On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has allocated $8.2 million in funding to Tesla Motors Australia (Tesla) to deploy residential battery and rooftop solar systems at 3000 properties owned by Housing across Adelaide.

As part of South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant (SA VPP), Tesla will install 5 kW of roof solar and 13.5 kWh of Powerwall battery on each property at no cost to the tenant. Approximately 80 percent of the current household energy usage would be covered by the system.

Together with 1100 systems already installed in the previous phase, Tesla will use a combined 20 MW/54 MWh of residential energy storage in a centrally controlled VPP test.

Housing SA tenants participating in the trial, like other residents, are typically locked out of being able to take advantage of renewable energy. The tenants would benefit from reduced household electricity bills, with the project offering electricity prices 22 per cent lower than the default market.

A VPP is a centralized network of built-in battery systems that can be collectively managed to provide benefits to households, energy retailers and the local network.

The $60.6 million SA VPP is also funded by $10 million from the South Australian Government’s Grid Scale Storage Fund in ongoing payments, $30 million in debt funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and $18 million in equity from Tesla.

With the support of the SA Government, Tesla has already installed 1100 solar and battery systems. This next step of implementation supports Tesla ‘s goal to build the largest VPP in the world, comprising 50,000 solar and storage systems for both social housing and private housing.

The 3000 additional systems will also participate in the AEMO VPP test to provide a variety of grid stability services by exporting excess energy to the National Electricity Market.

Previously, ARENA has supported VPP projects in South Australia led by AGL and Simply Energy.

“This project represents a significant step towards a technology and commercial model for battery and solar that requires no upfront cost or risk to the customer. Another benefit of this approach is that it is open to households that otherwise wouldn’t have access to renewable energy options.”

Darren Miller, ARENA CEO.

With more than 2.5 million households now owning rooftop solar and more than 60,000 home battery storage systems now installed in Australia, Darren Miller said VPPs will be critical for Australia’s future energy protection and reliability.

“As rooftop solar and home battery storage increases in Australia in the coming decades, virtual power plants potentially have an important role to play in harnessing distributed energy in a way that maximises the benefit to the customer as well as the electricity system as a whole.

“By supporting this pioneering project, ARENA is excited to help support the evolution of virtual power plants that can provide dispatchable power and essential grid stability powered by clean energy technology, at scale.”

Darren Miller, ARENA CEO.
Nedim Husomanovic

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