South Australia’s Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has unveiled what he expects to be a vote-winning power policy before the March state election — ‘free’ solar panels and Tesla batteries for 50,000 homes.
And it’s all thanks to the guy on the right. Yep, it’s the latest gift in the ongoing bromance between Mr Weatherill and billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk, after the pair teamed up to help fund the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery (which is already producing power in the South Australian grid).
“Free?” I hear you ask. They say nothing is certain but death and taxes.
This deal will involve some of the latter (a $2 million taxpayer-funded grant and $30 million loan to Tesla), plus a significant catch — the power generated by the solar panels and the batteries will not be owned directly by the households, but may well be sold back to them via a retailer.
First things first. What is a ‘Virtual Power Plant’?
A VPP is trendy terminology for distributed electricity generation. It’s a bit like the internet. Or bitcoin.
The idea is that by sharing surplus energy produced by rooftop solar panels when not being used, all consumers can benefit.