Tesla is about to become a very important part of South Australia’s power grid.
The company’s Powerwall batteries are set to provide the juice for a massive “virtual power plant” in the country that will provide electricity for up to 50,000 homes over the next four years, according to the government.
Under the program, households will be provided with solar panels and Powerwall batteries, which will become part of a larger energy network. The power generated by the individual systems will provide electricity to the homes where they’re installed but will also feed extra power back to the grid where it can be distributed to other locations as needed.
When it’s completed, the network will be the largest of it’s kind anywhere in the world, with the ability to power up to 75,000 houses.
The system is expected to lower participants’ electricity bills by as much as 30 percent. Even those who don’t adopt Tesla’s batteries could see lower electric bills due to increased competition, according to government officials. Those savings could be particularly significant in the coming years as the country is expected to see hotter and hotter summers as a result of climate change.
The program has already kicked off, with an initial trial period of 1,100 homes from South Australia’s public housing and 24,000 additional homes planned before it opens up to all South Australia residents.
People who are interested in joining the program can register on the government’s virtual power plant website, which has already seen more than 4,000 sign-ups, according to a statement from South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill.