The World's Largest Virtual Power Plant
With the support of the Government of South Australia, Tesla and electricity retailer Energy Locals are developing South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant (SA VPP) - a network of potentially 50,000 solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems across South Australia, all working together to form the world’s largest virtual power plant.
SA VPP is designed to provide more affordable, reliable and secure electricity for all South Australians, while increasing homeowners’ visibility of their energy use, and supporting South Australia’s transition to a renewables-based economy.
On this page
About South Australia's Virtual Power Plant
What is a virtual power plant?
A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of distributed energy resources – such as homes with solar and battery systems – all working together as a single power plant.
The VPP operator uses WiFi technology and sophisticated software to charge or discharge energy from the batteries and trade it on the National Energy Market (NEM).
With many systems working together, small amounts of energy stored in individual home batteries can become large amounts of energy to help support the grid in times of need. The capacity and power of a VPP can sometimes match or even exceed a traditional power station.
What is the status of this project?
SA VPP is a growing network of homes with solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems across South Australia.
Unveiled in 2018, SA VPP was designed in phases to demonstrate the viability of a virtual power plant to reduce the energy costs for the households participating in the project, and support the energy grid in ways that could reduce energy costs for all South Australians.
The trial phases involved 1,100 Housing SA properties being fitted with solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems. Installations under the trial phases were completed in 2019.
In October 2019, Tesla launched its Tesla Energy Plan, an electricity retail offer for private households that wish to purchase and enrol their Tesla Powerwall batterty in SA VPP.
Tesla is now rolling out Phase 3 of SA VPP to another 3,000 Housing SA properties.
Tesla plans to have up to 50,000 South Australian homes connected over time.
South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant - an Australian first
SA VPP is demonstrating how virtual power plants and other distributed energy resources can operate in the future.
SA VPP was the first virtual power plant in Australia to help stabilise frequency levels in the grid, and as of August 2020 it is one of only two virtual power plants in Australia to do this. The stability services SA VPP provides have already helped with significant events such as:
- a power station trip in Queensland in October 2019
- disconnections of the grid between South Australia and Victoria in November 2019 and January 2020
- providing power to Port Lincoln residents during catastrophic fire conditions in November 2019
- high and low frequency issues in the grid in December 2019.
By demonstrating grid stability services, SA VPP is creating a path for other distributed energy resources in the future to provide important grid services that until now have only been provided by centralised, more traditional equipment.
Who is involved in South Australia’s Virtual Power Plant?
Tesla has designed and developed SA VPP, and is managing the installation of solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery systems on South Australian homes.
Energy Locals is the electricity provider and retailer for all households participating in SA VPP.
The Government of South Australia is supporting the project through a $2 million grant and $20 million loan from the Renewable Technnology Fund and $10 million grant from the Grid Scale Storage Fund. The government is working with Tesla to identify Housing SA properties suitable for the roll out of Phase 3.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is providing an $8 million grant to suppport Phase 3 of the project.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is providing a $30 million loan to also support Phase 3 of the project.
Information for Housing SA Tenements looking to join SA VPP
Information for private households looking to join SA VPP
What are the benefits of South Australia's Virtual Power Plant
SA VPP offers the chance for Housing SA tenants to lower their electricity bills, and be part of a world first program making electricity cleaner and more affordable, reliable and secure for all South Australians.
SA VPP customers have a solar and Tesla Powerwall home battery system installed and maintained at their home, at no cost. In return, they enjoy:
- an exclusive price for electricity that is currently the lowest residential electricity rate in South Australia (22 per cent lower than the regulated Default Market Offer, based on 4000 kWh/year on an anytime tariff in SA Power Networks for 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 - the lowest annual price is $1,425)
- a low daily electricity supply charge.
It's important for SA VPP customers to remember that they will continue to pay for all the electricity they use - whether it comes from the solar, battery or grid - but it will be charged at the low electricity rate only available for SA VPP customers.
SA VPP's electricity rate is even lower than the SA Concession Energy Discount Offer, and 22 per cent cheaper that the standard electricity price (known as the Default Market Offer).
Hear from people already saving with SA VPP
Over 1000 Housing SA tenants are already benefiting from being part of SA VPP. Hear some of their stories in these videos.
If you are an SA VPP customer and have a question about your electricity supply or your electricity bill, please contact Energy Locals on (08) 7078 8082.
If you are an SA VPP customer and have a question about the solar or battery at your home, please contact the Tesla customer support team on powerwallsupportANZ@tesla.com or 1800 646 952.
If you have any questions about the South Australian government’s role in the project, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the VPP hotline on 8226 2414. Alternatively, you can send us mail addressed to GPO Box 320, Adelaide, South Australia 5001.