SA and Tesla to install solar panels and batteries for 50,000 homes

The South Australian government has launched a plan to install solar panels and battery storage on 50,000 homes.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and SA Premier Jay Weatherill in July 2017.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and SA Premier Jay Weatherill in July 2017. Source: AAP

A network of at least 50,000 home solar systems backed up by battery storage will create the world's largest "virtual" power plant to cut energy bills, Premier Jay Weatherill says.

Mr Weatherill said a trial was already under way to install solar panels and Tesla batteries on 1,100 Housing Trust homes, with the cost to be financed by the sale of electricity.

The program would later be rolled out to another 24,000 public housing properties and also offered to other households with a view to having at least 50,000 Adelaide homes connected.

It appeared to trump a similar Liberal opposition plan to have solar panels and batteries installed in at least 40,000 homes.

Mr Weatherill said the plan would essentially create a 250 megawatt power plant and participants could expect a 30 per cent cut in their electricity bills.

"We will use people's homes as a way to generate energy for the South Australian grid, with participating households benefiting with significant savings in their energy bills," the premier said on Sunday.

"Our energy plan means that we are leading the world in renewable energy and now we are making it easier for more homes to become self-sufficient."

A registration of interest was opened for people wanting to take part in the scheme and the government would release a market notice this week seeking a retailer to deliver the program.

The Smart Energy Council said creating the world's biggest "virtual power plant" was a game-changer for South Australians wanting to cut their power bills.

"Virtual power plants allow families to take control of their power bills, while providing greater security for the energy network," chief executive John Grimes said.

2 min read
Published 4 February 2018 at 1:00pm