South Australia announced Sunday that it will install solar panels and Tesla batteries in 50,000 homes, a project to turn housing for locals into a gigantic power plant.
The largest battery in the world, a lithium-ion battery supplied by Tesla, the electric car manufacturer founded by billionaire Elon Musk, is already in South Australia where it has to power 30,000 homes.
The local government is trying to put in place other means to overcome the shortcomings of its electricity network with clean energy.
The State of South Australia was completely stripped of electricity in 2016 as a result of high winds and torrential rains.
The project unveiled on Sunday plans to install free of charge residents solar panels and Tesla batteries. It will be financed by the sale of excess electricity generated by the grid.
“My government has already offered the world its largest battery, now we will offer the world its largest virtual power plant,” said Premier Jay Weatherill.
During the test phase, 1100 social housing units will be equipped with systems capable of producing 5 kW. Another 24,000 social housing units and private homes will be equipped for a total of 50,000 households within four years.
The project will be funded by the local government for two million Australian dollars (1.2 million euros) as well as a loan of 30 million Australian dollars granted a taxpayer fund for renewable technologies.
According to Tesla, the solar panel network will have a capacity of 250 megawatts and the batteries will have a storage capacity of 650 MWh.
“At key moments, the virtual plant will be able to provide as much energy as a coal-fired power plant or a gas turbine,” the automaker said in a statement.
The vast continent-continent is one of the world’s largest coal and gas producers, and the blackout in South Australia has brought the issue of energy security back to the fore.
Aging coal plants have been shut down. With strong demand for Australian gas exports, the authorities are worried about a shortage in the years to come.
According to official statistics published in 2016, more than 60% of the electricity produced in Australia comes from coal against 14% of clean electricity.