Virtual Power Plant
The Virtual Power Plant (VPP) program will provide Housing Trust tenants with an option to sign up to lower energy bills. Solar panels and batteries will be installed on Housing Trust properties across the state. Around 1,100 tenants will be in the trial phases until June 2019. When the outcomes of the trials are known, other Housing Trust tenants will be able to participate.
You can register at www.ourenergyplan.sa.gov.au/virtual-power-plant to get more information as the program develops.
Solar PV systems and the virtual power plant
Rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will be installed on eligible Housing Trust properties. The systems will convert energy from the sun into electricity and feed it into the main electricity grid or store it in the onsite Tesla powerwall home battery for use when the sun isn’t shining. These systems remain operational for up to 20 years.
The Virtual Power Plant is different from an individual solar PV system, the VPP stores and provides this energy to support the grid. All tenants in Housing Trust properties who sign up to the program will benefit from reduced power bills, not just those living in the homes where they are installed.
After the initial rollout, the program will be extended to at least 24,000 Housing Trust properties and 25,000 private properties across South Australia based on the success of the first 1,100.
A VPP installed on 50,000 public and private properties across South Australia would provide for around 20% of our state’s average daily energy requirements and provide greater energy security.
Most, but not all Housing Trust homes, will have a system installed if the trials progress to full implementation. Tesla will require access to your home and roof space to assess its suitability. If you live on a group site, this inspection may be done for the whole site.
As with other home improvements or repairs, the government will notify you in advance to agree a suitable time if they need to access your property.
If the program is extended beyond the trial phases, Housing Trust tenants will be able to participate and enjoy the same savings as other tenants who sign up to the program retailer.
Households that already have solar panels may be able to participate in the program at a later stage. Tesla will review all properties to determine if they are able to support a system and participate in the program.
How to register
Public housing tenants can register your interest if you want to volunteer your property to be assessed to have a solar and battery system installed during the trial phases. Please choose “I am a public housing tenant” on the online registration form.
The general public, businesses, private rental and community housing tenants, will be able to participate after June 2019.
What it will cost tenants
There is no cost to Housing Trust tenants to have the system installed and maintained. Tesla is responsible for any installation and servicing.
Housing Trust tenants who sign up will see around a 30% reduction in their energy bills, based on a comparison against the average price currently being paid by customers in South Australia (around 40 cents per kWh). The exact savings are unknown and may vary depending on the type of plan you currently have and how much energy you use.
You will have the choice of staying with your current retailer, but if you do, you may not be eligible for the cheaper electricity provided by the program retailer. A retailer is an agency you pay your electricity bills to.
Origin energy discount
The offer of Origin 18% discount for concession card holders is a separate initiative which is available now for eligible customers.
Opting out of the program
As the owner of the property, the Housing Trust will work with Tesla to decide if a solar and battery system is to be installed. If you feel the installation of the system makes the home unsuitable for your family, you can advise Housing SA so your concerns are taken into consideration.
You will be able to opt out of the program at any time by changing electricity retailers. However, if a system has been installed at your home it will remain.