Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant has been available in South Australia since early 2019 and has now build 250MW of capacity for more than 50,000 homes.
Tesla is now taking their VPP to Australia’s second most populous state Victoria. By drawing less energy from the grid, also helps Victoria achieve their objectives of a reduction of 50% emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050.
A Virtual Powerplant Leverages the distributed storage capacity of home battery storage to share power at a neighbourhood level, potentially avoiding expensive network upgrades.
Tesla’s home storage product, the Powerwall 2 enables homeowners with solar to capture energy through the day, then essentially trade that excess stored energy to the grid.
To enable this, Tesla is partnering with energy retailer Energy Locals who have been awarded the Green Energy Retailer of the year, two years running (2020 & 2021) by Finder.
- New Powerwall owners: By purchasing Powerwall and the Tesla Energy Plan, customers can benefit from an upfront discount on your Powerwall purchase, while also accessing any government rebates.
- Existing Powerwall owners: By connecting to the Tesla Energy Plan, you can switch to a plan that is purpose built for Powerwall while experiencing benefits such as competitive feed-in tariffs, flexible energy rates, no lock in contracts along with Grid Support Credits.
To be eligible, you need to have a solar PV system less than 15kW in size and no export restrictions in place. For those who got into the battery storage game early, unfortunately only Powerwall 2s are eligible.
If you participate in the VPP, you’ll receive $220 (incl GST) in grid support bill credits each year for each Powerwall you have connected. The applicable portion of the $220 (incl GST) in grid support bill credits will be calculated daily and appear as a credit on your bill each month.
When it comes to the cost of what you’ll pay for power, there’s a few factors and Tesla offer the ability to enter your postcode and get detailed pricing for your area. In my location, you can get a split pricing plan of 38.50c/kWh peak (incl GST) and 18.70c/kWh off-peak (incl GST) with a daily service charge of $1.16/day (incl GST). While that’s not the cheapest plan I’ve seen on the market, it is ballpark competitive.
You will also receive a solar feed-in tariff of 7.0 c/kWh. While I’m currently on 14.0c/kWh FiT, that’s going down when my current 12 months end as the single rate minimum feed-in tarrif has now dropped to just 6.7kWh in Victoria from July 1st. For those with battery storage, the amount you’ll feed back to the grid from your solar is a lot less relevant as you’re goal really changes from collecting FiT to offset energy costs, to store the energy in your battery and using it at night, or have reserves in the event of a blackout.
The way a VPP works is to borrow power from your battery during peak times, say 6-9PM, then replace that energy when electricity prices are cheaper (like 2AM). You earn grid credits for lending out your energy to your neighbours.
All batteries degrade over time and are typically rate for X number of charge cycles. By joining the VPP, it’s clear that you would be consuming more cycles, so to counteract that, Tesla is offering an additional 5 years of extended warranty, taking the normal 10 years to 15.
If you decide to leave the Tesla Energy Plan, your additional 5-year extended warranty will be removed and revert back to the remaining manufacturer’s warranty. Additional to this, Tesla guarantee that your Powerwall will see a maximum of 50 discharge cycles per year.
Once you have completed the online sign up we will let your current energy provider know you are leaving and we’ll manage the transfer process.
A Tesla Powerwall 2 typically costs A$12,750 excluding installation and by joining up to the VPP you’ll receive a $1,000 hardware discount. This does require you to be part of the program for at least 24 months.
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of a Solar Victoria rebate, you could get up to $4,174 off the price of the Tesla Powerwall 2, but be fast as there are only 281 remaining at the time of writing.
More information is available at https://save.energylocals.com.au/TeslaEnergyPlan-TOU/. While South Australia’s VPP has their own dedicated page on the Tesla website, it looks like there currently isn’t one for the Victorian VPP.