SA Plan For New Private Generator Using Solar Panels On Roofs And Tesla Powerwalls Is Virtually Brilliant!

But is is a good idea?

Yesterday I was surprised by the South Australian Government announcing a plan to put solar panels on the roofs of 50,000 or more homes along with a Telsa Powerwall 2 and smart meter.  The goal is to have them work together to create a virtual power station with 250 megawatts of solar panels and battery storage that can provide 250 megawatts of power over two and a half hours.

The virtual power station will not belong to the SA Government, but will be privately owned.  It will be a new, independent generator that will increase competition in the electricity market.  The State Government is kicking it off with a $2 million grant and a $30 million dollar loan, but the total cost for 50,000 homes is estimated to be $800 million, which will be provided by private investors.  This comes to $16,000 per home, which sounds about right, though the cost should decline as time goes by.

The project will begin with a trial in 1,100 Housing Trust homes and this is apparently already underway, although I suspect only on a very small scale.  The first installations in private homes will begin in 2019 and the target of 50,000+ homes is planned to be reached in four and a half years.

Electricity bills for participants will be reduced by an estimated 30%.  Housing Trust residents who agree to take part will have their electricity bills reduced even if their home is judged unsuitable for rooftop solar due to shading or other issues.  The Tesla Powerwalls will provide electricity to homes during a blackout, but will only supply a maximum of 5 kilowatts and only if the batteries are at least partially charged.  Because the batteries will be used to buy and sell electricity it is possible they will be flat or low on charge when a blackout occurs.

By increasing the amount of competition in the electricity market the virtual generator should bring down grid electricity prices for everyone, even if they aren’t involved in the scheme.  Provided there are no disasters, this could lead to the development of large virtual power stations elsewhere in the country and potentially overseas.

Shocked And Confused

When I first heard about the virtual power plant plan I was shocked.  Shocked and confused — I was shockused.  This is because I thought the SA Government was going to own the solar panels and Powerwalls and my understanding is this would be legally problematic because of the privatization of the state’s electricity sector.  But as I looked into the details, what I saw was actually a cunning plan to work around the problem of the State Government not being responsible for electricity generation while still being blamed by the Coalition for anything and everything that goes wrong, including tornadoes and decisions at the national level by the AEMO not to require generators to supply power.

A Cunning Plan

One reason why South Australia has high electricity prices is the lack of competition in the state.  Normally this results in prices averaging slightly higher than they would be otherwise. But in July 2016, closure of the Heywood interconnector with Victoria allowed a lack of competition to increase average wholesale electricity prices by over 500% compared to July 2015.

By kick-starting a privately owned virtual power plant with a $2 million grant and a $30 million loan, the SA government is getting a new competitor in the electricity market.  One that can provide dispatchable power almost instantaneously.  And provided the Concentrating Solar Power plant with thermal storage 30 kilometers north of Port Augusta goes ahead, that will be two new competitors they’ll have ushered in.

Improved Reliability And Energy Security

Australia’s National Electricity Market, that covers all states except the big Western one, wasn’t designed for either a high penetration of renewables or for aging coal power stations becoming increasingly unreliable.  It also wasn’t designed for a climate that is becoming more extreme.  As a result, power companies don’t regard providing enough dispatchable generating capacity to meet demand under severe conditions to be profitable.  As a result, a new market for extra “emergency” generation has been added on top of the old market.  While this is probably far better than doing nothing, it does make me wonder if there were easier options than privatization for doubling the cost of electricity.

By getting the virtual power plant underway, South Australia not only gets a type of generation that has excellent characteristics for keeping the grid stable, but if there is a grid failure, homes with the Powerwalls installed will still have power.  Because the batteries will be used to buy and sell energy, it is possible for them to be flat when a blackout occurs, but on average a battery will usually have at least some charge. Storms can also be predicted and charge levels topped up from the grid in anticipation of winds that can down power lines.

Reasonable Benefits For Participants

The SA government says households that are part of the virtual power plant will see savings in their electricity bills of around 30%.  They also say that even if electricity prices and solar feed-in tariffs fall, people will still see a reduction in their electricity bills.  Of course, if a typical household bought a 5 kilowatt solar system and a Powerwall 2 outright they would see a far greater drop in their electricity bills, so there is still a big chunk of change left over for running the scheme and profits for investors.  But you might be wondering if there is enough, considering that I keep saying that batteries don’t pay for themselves yet.

I’d say it’s likely to pay for itself.  The virtual power plant has a number of advantages over private household ownership which includes being able to sell electricity for over $14 a kilowatt-hour when demand is high and to be paid to take electricity from the grid when prices go negative.  And if it doesn’t pay for itself now, then it soon will as battery prices continue to fall.

Some Issues

I hope the development of the virtual power plant goes well, but there are a few issues I am concerned about:

  • The size of solar arrays
  • Powerwall 2 round trip efficiency
  • Reliance on a single battery system manufacturer

5 Kilowatts Of Panels Isn’t Much

The State Government says 5 kilowatts of panels will be put on roofs.  This may not be a precise figure.  It could be an average or an estimate.  But if they are planning to put 5 kilowatts on every roof they’re foolishly letting a chance to improve their profitability pass by.  Provided there is room on the roof, it is cost effective to get the panel capacity as close to one-third larger than the inverter capacity as possible.  This means with a 4 kilowatt inverter panel capacity should be close to 5.33 kilowatts and with a 5 kilowatt inverter it should be close to 6.66 kilowatts.

In addition, over the next four and a half years, solar panel prices are going to drop and the amount of STCs that lower the cost of rooftop solar will be gradually reduced as they are slowly phased out.  As a result, it would be worthwhile to for the state government to investigate if they could install panel capacity that is greater than 133% of inverter capacity.  While this extra capacity may not receive STCs it could still be a cost effective way to increase solar output.

5 Kilowatts Of Panels Won’t Charge A Powerwall 2 In Winter

In June in Adelaide, 5 kilowatts of north facing panels will only produce an average of 11.5 kilowatt-hours a day.  This isn’t enough to fully charge a Powerwall 2 that can store 13.5 kilowatt-hours when new.  Unfortunately, it will require more than 13.5 kilowatt-hours to charge it due to losses.  I don’t know if this is true for the average Powerwall 2, but the ones I have information for appear to have round trip efficiencies of under 80%.  This means it may take 18 kilowatt-hours to fully charge a new Powerwall 2.

A typical household with 5 kilowatts of solar panels will self-consume an average of around 5 kilowatt-hours of solar electricity a day.  So in June it may take an average of almost 3 days to fully charge a Powerwall 2 with solar electricity.  However, it could be charged using grid electricity if solar output isn’t sufficient.

Tesla Is The Only Battery Provider Mentioned

The SA government says Tesla will be responsible for the installation of the Powerwalls and they are the only storage system manufacturer mentioned.  Tesla has had a lot of time to perfect the Powerwall 2 — much more time than they said would be necessary — and hopefully they will have no problem supplying the 11,000+ units that will be required in South Australia on average per year over the next 4.5 years.  But everyone involved should have a back up plan in case they don’t.

Even if you are convinced Tesla won’t have the massive production delays and quality control concerns they are currently experiencing with their Model 3 electric cars, you never know when a factory fire might occur, or an earthquake, or when a Tesla Roadster may come hurtling down from space like a meteorite.

Personally, I think the Tesla brand is quite valuable and so I expect the company to be around for quite some time, but the company’s debt rating could fall further and Moody’s recently described Tesla as:

“Financially weak manufacturer with very short operating history in the middle of an important new product launch: Tesla was founded in 2003, and TFL launched in 2014. Tesla (LT corporate family rating B2) faces sizable near-term credit risks associated with its plan for an unprecedented ramp-up in the production and sales of the Model 3 BEVs.”

As a result of its financial problems Tesla could be reorganized in the future and that could potentially affect Powerwall production.  But, as my Uncle Chang always used to say, “Cheap money hides many sins.”  Tesla is currently only paying 5.3% interest on their debt.  Even if this rises to 6% they will still only need mediocre performance to turn things around.  All they have to do is avoid mistakes and maybe find someone to run the show who is dull and not easily distracted.

The Rest Of Australia May Follow

Looking at the decreasing cost of electric car battery packs, it is clear to me that home battery storage will fall considerably in price — probably in the not too distant future.  Provided we don’t mess things up too much in South Australia, there is a good chance virtual power stations will take off in the rest of the country.  It just remains to be seen how popular they will be.  Will people go for an easy 30% or so off their electricity bills or will they want even lower bills and buy battery systems outright?


About Ronald Brakels

Joining SolarQuotes in 2015, Ronald has a knack for reading those tediously long documents put out by solar manufacturers and translating their contents into something consumers might find interesting. Master of heavily researched deep-dive blog posts, his relentless consumer advocacy has ruffled more than a few manufacturer's feathers over the years. Read Ronald's full bio.


  1. If the housing trust properties are owned by the SA government, then the solar/battery systems installed on them will be government owned.

    By having all that property ownership they can retain control of how those systems are used. That’s the smart bit.

    The Tesla systems clearly have the smarts built in to give it the flexibility to operate in this way to make them so useful. Whilst they’re not unique, they have now pretty much become the defacto standard to which all other inverters will have to match. And that is fine. I don’t want to see SA govt locking in a contract to be Tesla only. And not lock in a price now knowing full well that the prices will be dropping as time goes by.

  2. Good on JW and the SA Labour government. It’s just typical of the Libs to blame them for all power problems which really is only preaching to their own base supporters. Anyone that is semi educated should be able to see through their deceptive tactics.

    I do have some concerns though. Are these houses going to be close to each other? if so then there is going to be issues with exporting power (after batteries are fully charged) being limited because of the power ramping used in the inverters unless they are using modern methods to better control the grid voltage and make better use of the power instead of base load, which then brings up another question:

    Who decides how much base load generated power is used in any given area. Ideally we want to use clean power but is AEMO (or whoever decides) obligated to use a percentage of power from base load generators or is it all based on best price on offer at any point of time?

    I have 6.48 kW PV and 5 kW Inverter but unless there is enough load on the grid I can never reach much above 4 to 4.5 kW exported. Only time I reach 5 kW is when it’s hot and aircon in use everywhere As more homes go Solar that will only get worse so they really need to put better grid regulation in place instead of the old transformer designs they are using. make it so base load is cut down to a bare minimum.

    I’m currently waiting for a letter back from SAPN after have a Polygraph meter installed here and on the transformer around the corner. I doubt things will improve as they are only required to keep within the specified voltages which are always high around here even at Midnight. I’ve never seen it at the nominal 230 volts and I’ve been logging voltages for about 6 months now, they always much higher.

    I see the same sort of issues happening in areas where these new installation go in unless the infrastructure is also improved.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The SA Government FAQ on the virtual power plant can be found here:

      And says:

      “How installations will be prioritised will be determined during the trial phases. Criteria may include geographical spread for installation efficiency combined with optimising the security of the distribution network.”

      Normally in the National Electricity Market the mix of generation that is used is determined solely by the price bid into the wholesale electricity market by generators. Solar and wind farms usually just accept the price set by other generators as they have no fuel cost. But in South Australia, because the State Government is paranoid about blackouts because they know the Coalition will beat them over the head with it, they require three large gas generators to be operating at all times. This has had the effect of increasing electricity prices.

      • Patrick Comerford says

        I believe it is AEMO that requires the spinning generators to be on at certain times when wind output is high nothing to do with the state government.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Sorry, yes, the state government required two large gas generators to be always operating after the (fairly minor) blackout in February last year and it was the AEMO that came up with the three synchronous generator rule.

  3. Yes, we totally agree. It’s a brilliant plan!~

  4. Ronald,
    Isn’t that the same Tesla battery that increases ghg over solar and no battery, while adding more in storage costs than it returns? Bill reductions are not the same as cost savings etc.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      One can be impressed by the moves a player makes without also asking whether or not we should be playing the game.

      In a rational world the $800 million cost of the virtual power plant would go directly into eliminating the need for coal power plants.

      • As you ought to know, it does.
        The $800m figure. Where did that come from? Did the SA govt announce that they have budgeted that much for the scheme? Or is that simply your calculation of 50,000 properties x $16k/per system? Because that is using current costs and that will not remain constant. The cost will continue to reduce as time goes by. So the $800m figure is blatantly false.

        The problem with announcing total costs of a project like this is that all the installers and suppliers will want to lock in prices now in a bid to make increasing margins as the hardware cost reduces. Just because it’s the government paying for a project doesn’t mean it’s not costing you something personally.

        • Ronald Brakels says

          The $800 million is an estimate from the SA government from this page here:

          The state government isn’t paying the $800 million. It will be private money. This is important as the state gov apparently can’t be a normal generator. They are ponying up a $2 million grant and making a $30 million loan which they should get back, hopefully with interest, since the state government can borrow at about 3.3% over 10 years.

          • OK, so if the SA Govt is only putting in $32m, the tenants/owners get around 30% off their power bill, the Program Retailer gets a bit for administering the project and system, that doesn’t leave a great deal left to entice private investment. Will be interesting to see the rest of the deal when it’s made known….

  5. Warwick Sands says

    Hi Ronald,
    Will people go for the 30% off their electricity bills? They will if they are as poor as my family was back in the ’60s.

    I don’t know how public housing works in South Australia but I think rentals. If this is the case then I think it is an excellent model! If not it is still a good idea.

    Many private owners would consider buying a system outright – it will come down to their financial situation.

    Personally I too would install more panels. However since the intent is to buy electricity then the winter shortfall is not such a concern.

    Cheers Warwick

    • Housing trust calculate rents based on 25% of the total house hold net income, or at least that is how it worked in the past.

      • Warwick Sands says

        Thanks. That sounds fair,

        • Ronald Brakels says

          Some are housing trust homes are definitely too small to fit 5 kilowatts of solar panels on the roof. Not easily at least. Some are duplexes that could fit 5+ kilowatts of panels between two homes. But, from the point of view of the virtual power station, as long as there is 250 megawatts of solar panels distributed around the places and batteries able to provide 250 megawatts of power out there, exactly how much is on each roof is not that important. So they may just concentrate on putting as much solar as easily fits on the most suitable/cost effective roofs and then work their way down. With everyone in a housing trust home who agrees to join the scheme benefiting from lower electricity prices not having a suitable roof is not such a burden.

          Personally, if I was part of the trial I’d like to have a Powerwall 2 so I’d (probably) have power if there is a black out, but they should go to people with medical conditions, or who are otherwise vulnerable, first.

  6. Bob Gitsham says

    A good Idea, I alraedy have the solar panels how do I get the batteries. How do I find out if I’m eligible.what are the requirwements for getting the batteries?

  7. Howard Patrick says

    Keep in mind the 24M battery proposed by UGL for manufacture in Darwin.

    Still hard to find anything really concrete about where things are at with 24M technology but prototypes have been provided to NEC for evaluation.

    24M promise a lot in terms of energy density and cost but who knows – perhaps it has hit a brick wall?

  8. What’s the 24 M battery?

    • It is still a lithium ion cell but they have developed a simply (cheaper) way of making them. Could make quite a difference in the market if some company chooses to adopt it. They aren’t mass producers, only prototyping line.

  9. Thanks Lessor.

  10. Does SA have the malicious and malfeasant restriction on single phase electricity grid connections, where the limit of total rated (as opposed to nominal) inverter capacity for a single, single phase grid connection, is limited to 5kW, with that limit meaning a grid connection would be allowed either a 5kW PV inverter, or, a Tesla Powerwall 2, but not both?

    From memory, the malicious and malfeasant limit, as applied in WA, was going to be applied also in SA.

    If it does apply in SA, would that not prohibit this proposal, or, require all buildings in SA, to be converted to three phase?

  11. Most housing trust houses are so small that their roofs aren’t large enough to have 5KW of optimally oriented panels at current panel efficiency. Not sure who in the government fact checked before the public announcement??

  12. Will prices really fall by much?
    One of the key problems for the grid generator businesses is their base line costs – ie. maintenance, interest on borrowed funds, employees, etc.

    SA has a small market for power (compared to VIC and NSW) but those costs have to be amortised over that small number of consumers.
    I probably am missing some key point, but it seems to me that unless this move enables them to shut a power station and dismiss the employees, SA consumers (res. and bus.) will still pay more than NSW or VIC.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Prices will fall for people in housing commission homes, which is around 8% of the population, and we can expect increased competition to lower prices for all. So, if we conservatively assume a 20% decrease in electricity bills for 8% of the population and just 1% for everyone else that comes to about 2.5% overall. That’s a decrease of around 3 cents per kilowatt-hour of grid electricity used.

  13. Ronald Brakels says

    I probably should have mentioned in the article that before the virtual power station is complete in 4.5 years time, we will have five minute settlement in the wholesale electricity market. This will be a big advantage to anyone using batteries to supply power. At the moment, the price received for electricity is averaged over half hour periods. The rule change will occur in three years time on the first of July 2021 and will make the operation of the market more efficient.

    Why it takes so long to change a rule that only exists, in a charitable interpretation, because electricity markets overseas 30 years ago had to phone in their bids, I don’t know.

  14. OK, I’ve read

    Let me see if I’ve got my mind round this.
    – The virtual power plant will be privately owned and operated (financing the majority of the costs of the program will commence later this year)
    – The total value of the project is estimated at $800 million
    – The SA Renewable Technology Fund is providing a grant of $2m and a loan of $30m
    – Tesla is responsible for the installation of the systems and will liaise directly with households
    – Tesla and the SA Govt will identify the most appropriate retailer
    – The benefits to be distributed to all Housing Trust tenants who sign up (even those whose homes aren’t suitable for the installations)

    Correct ?

    What private sector investor is going to provide $798m equity investment in a company where:
    – the supplier already has a (presumably) fixed-price contract
    – the supplier and the government seemingly will control all the strategy and make the policy decisions
    – there is a fundamental conflict between the government (which wants to cut power prices), and the company (which needs to make a profit)

    I guess it can only be investors who are GUARANTEED a return, underwritten by SA Government, and who don’t really care whether Tesla and SA Govt make a mess of it as long as they get their 7.5% per annum (or whatever) ie the vehicle may be a private, off-the-budget company, but all the risk will remain with the SA Government. Like their version of the NBN

    • Ronald Brakels says

      The secret sauce is, provided they don’t expect wholesale electricity prices to go higher which would allow them to make a profit from selling electricity to the grid, from late afternoon and through the night the virtual power station can sell electricity from its battery storage to the household it is in for around 36 cents a kilowatt-hour at current prices. That is 6 times the average wholesale spot price over the past 10 years.

    • Some good points raised… but…

      “– there is a fundamental conflict between the government (which wants to cut power prices), and the company (which needs to make a profit)..”

      I really can’t recall Tesla ‘…making a profit…”

      Their major gain from this may well be the PR / Look-over-there (positive sense of L.O.T).

      Our own personal view on the big picture issues is that we’ll never again buy a fossil-fuelled vehicle. We’ll power our vehicles mainly using our own panels, our mill, and battery… .

  15. So if we spent the same money on a solar farm with battery storage surely we would have considerably lower installations and maintenance costs. Thereby making more electricity for lower cost but loosing the benefit of an exciting election promo.
    I don’t see the value in house installations versus a solar farm. If a user installed a similar system on there roof with a battery the return would be so low it would effectively loosing money. There must be some extra detail involved if private investors are expected to pick up the tab.

    • “There must be some extra detail involved if private investors are expected to pick up the tab.”

      Depends. We stopped putting solar panels on all our rentals when the FiT fell from 48c to 7c. Had the WA government continued its original FiT initiative, we’d have kept putting them up… .

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Brent, the virtual power station can sell electricity to a home that has its solar panels and battery storage for 36 cents a kilowatt-hour. Or if it is 30% cheaper than the current retail price, around 25 cents a kilowatt-hour. Or maybe the price per kilowatt-hour will be around the same and most of the savings will come from lower supply charges.

      • Yes but if I installed the system myself I would get the same benefit. In fact it would be better as no 30% reduction. And it still would not make finacial sense. As has been pointed out on this website the payback period is so long for a battery it is not viable to install into a home. It would make more sense to install in a solar farm. SA has no shortage of land.

    • Real Estate!, Users benefit from hiring out their roof space that is not being used for anything else.

  16. The irony of projects like this is the operating costs for the generators, transmission & distributors still needs to be paid by someone leading to increased fixed service charges & higher power prices for everyone.
    Solar would be much more efficient if erected in large farms instead of having dirty panels on inappropriate shaded roofs which spike high voltages into an ageing grid that was never not designed to run power backwards.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      Wouldn’t the operating costs for the generators, transmission & distributors still need to be paid if the solar panels were in a large solar farm?

      • Of course, those costs still need to be paid by someone.

        The benefit of Solar farms would be increased efficiency being located in an ideal area for maximum solar gain, maintained & connected to the grid in a manner where the voltage can be properly regulated. I work for a power company & send a crew out most days for voltage complaints caused by solar topping 260 during the day down to 210 at night when the hot water load kicks in. Bar rewiring the mains (which no one wants to pay for) there is often little we can do.

        • Craig, I work for a company that manufactures low voltage regulators for exactly the kind of situation you describe. We have around 3,000 units installed in Australia, mostly on SWER networks (Ergon is one of our biggest customers), where many units having been operating for over a decade. Our products also manage the low voltage grid for National Renewable Energy Lab’s Solar Decathlon.

          I apologize for blatantly plugging our technology here, but I felt it relevant to the content of this article and conversation. Since reading the announcement of this plan, I have been wondering how Tesla plans to manage the inevitable over voltage issues. You can find out more at or contact me directly at [email protected]

      • Yep! A ‘mate’ of mine (and his missus) taunted us about ‘middle class welfare’ when we decided to put solar electricity panels on our tenants’ homes, after interest rates fell.

        Their main gripe, I thought, was that _they_ were helping pay for this initiative through state taxes.

        “Oh dear, I thought… maybe we _are_ screwing our fellow taxpayers by trying to help our tenants…” Ceased feeling guilty when, soon after, they claimed part-pensions we will never be able to access… along with all the accompanying medical and pharmaceutical benefits… .

        Their chief objection, I later realised, was simply that the Libs had initiated these 10-year-contracts with a FiT of 47c.

        Gotta laugh… . 🙂

    • @Craig, I have those issues here. I mentioned that I had Off-peak HWS when a a SAPN worker here looking at voltages, he thought that it might be possible when I said I’d like for it to run during sun hours. When I spoke to him again he said he’d asked about it and doubt it would be allowed to be set Off-peak to around Mid day!

      All that power being generated going to waste!

      What is the logic behind that? I could be taking some of the load of the grid at mid-nignt and using what I generate during the day to heat my water instead of raising the grid voltage up with exports. I would still export but it would be reduced. I win, SAPN wins, but NO we can’t have that.

      • Stew the way I intend to get around it is run a heat pump hot water system on a timer from 10am using the solar to run it effectively getting our hot water for the buy back rate of around 12 cents a kw. Of course logic is retailers would rather pay me the 12 cents & triple their money selling it back at those peak times

        • Whatever method is used to heat water it really needs some “smarts” to control how fast to heat the water. I acquired a timer that I could have wired in. I can also just switch the HWS over to day time heating but that will then be using the Peak tariff. If it was on Off-peak tariff without smarts that would be better than how it is. With some smart control I could use Peak tariff and fully control the heater element to not use grid power.

          The Fronius Ohmpilot appears to fit the bill. Now the question is will the government plan make use of some form of smart control for homes with Electric HWS. I doubt it as that would reduce the profits for the investors as less exports.

          I really hope the retailers are not involved in controlling how SAPN distributes the power.

          • Ronald Brakels says

            The building of the virtual power station does seem like a good opportunity to improve the functioning of hot water controlled loads.

  17. “I win, SAPN wins, but NO we can’t have that.”

    Astonishing, isn’t it… .

    A couple of decades I was quoted an _insane_ price just for for *connecting* to a water pipe which runs right past our place.

    The WA government has now foregone over $30K in lost rates and water consumption. That estimate is based on the very least amount of water we could use annually… .

    Not entirely lose / lose, of course. We’ve employed that $30K!*

    * …and, as you know, WA is in major deficit… .

  18. Bret Busby says

    Lessor – “as you know, WA is in major deficit”

    WA is bankrupt because of extravagances like the 1600 million dollars of WA public funds used to pay for the new Perth stadium, solely for the benefit of berer drinking yobbo’s to sit on their fat backsides while watching people run around and jump up and down, for their entertainment.

    To pay for that, the WA state parliament is progressively eliminating the WA Seniors Card and its concessions, and, NOT acting to stabilise the WA electricity grid and NOT acting to reduce environmental harm, by NOT being proactive about solar energy, by NOT instead using the 1600 million dollars of taxpayers money, to put rooftop PV systems with storage batteries, on all state housing homes and on all state schools, and NOT providing interest-free finance and/or subsidies, to assist homeowners to install rooftop PV systems with battery backup storage.

    After all, why should WA have a stable electricity suipply, and, why should WA act to reduce future damage to the environment, when taxpayers’ money can instead be misappropiated and used to fund fat lazy beer drinkers having a venue to watch other people running around and jumping up and down, for their entertainment?

    Who needs a stable economy and a stable electricity supply, and protection for the environment, and less expensive electricity bills?

    Not WA, according to the state parliament.

    It is a bit like when the WA state parliament determined that WA should not have a stable and reliable water supply…

    • Yes, we completely agree with your comments regarding the Libs’ wasted billions, Bret. And, yes, we also agree with your list of other successive developments to the detriment of WA’s citizens.

      It’s hard to imagine “a stable electricity supply” when we’re so dependent on 19th-century poles-and-wire. Dangerous, bushfire-causing, high-maintenance and unsightly.

      You know the Empire is crumbling when its priorities are circuses and icons… .

  19. It doesn't add up... says

    Colour me sceptical. If the 250MW of solar is favourably located, it could be expected to produce about 375GWh a year, or about 43MW on average. If we have 50,000 batteries consuming 5kWh a day for recharging round trip losses, that will eat up 91.25GWh of the solar generation, which takes us down to under 33 MW continuous power equivalent. Meanwhile, you add to the duck curve, but you might have some of the 250MW battery export potential when the sun is down or it’s cloudy – provided that the household isn’t using the power, and provided there hasn’t been an extended cloudy spell.

    It has to be a whole bunch cheaper and more reliable to provide peak lopping capacity via OCGT instead – even at the stupidly high domestic Australian gas prices. If you just wanted steady power output, then the cost falls substantially using CCGT, which is much more energy efficient for relatively little increase in capital cost.

  20. “Colour me sceptical. If the 250MW of solar is favourably located, it could be expected to produce about 375GWh a year, or about 43MW on average”
    “As a whole, the virtual power plant could add up to a new 250MW/650MWh, dispatchable power plant that can meet around 20% of our state’s total average daily energy requirements,”

    Total South Australian consumption 2016 = 12,934 GWh.
    375GWh would be 2.9%.
    The 20% is derived this way. Calculate average hourly power demand over the year: 12,934GWh/8760hours = 1,476MWh
    20% = 295MW. Musk uses that to claim a square 100miles x 100miles of solar could power the USA. Did the same for Australia, but one has to admire a cunning plan.,

  21. Looks like the good burghers of SA by voting for Marshall have now stopped this great innovation for low income earners. It seems their scheme of $2500 subsidies will inly help middle and high income earners.

  22. Wonder what Gelion batteries may offer in the way of future home storage… and maybe even EV power?

    Article on possible potential maybe, Ronald?

  23. Lawrence Coomber says

    Ron as always, the devil will be in the detail.

    And most people would probably understand that often it’s the pin-pricks in life that ultimately ruin partnerships, rather than the big-ticket items.
    So where might the pin pricks be lurking in all this?

    (1) The business partnership terms and conditions may prove the culprit.

    Being a party to a business partnership does not exist in theory only, it involves a business relationship partnership contract being in place between the participants of course. With contracts comes participants performance guarantees and responsibilities.

    And that means the ordinary punter home owner with 5 kw of PV on their roof has obligations to supply, manage, and perform to a prescribed standard certain things that ensure all parties to the contract are on the right side of the ledger. Or else!

    What sort of things? Well like I said the devil will be in the detail, but I am reminded of a major debacle that I witnessed unfolding when working in California on this very issue.

    (1) Remote communications integrity, reliability and performance with the PV/Battery generation plant. Who’s responsible for its performance and integrity and who pays?

    There are other pin pricks but let’s not get ahead of ourselves yet and wait for a sample contract.

    Like you though Ron, I am optimistic, but forewarned is forearmed.

    Lawrence Coomber

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