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Tesla to supply another ‘virtual power plant’ with Powerwalls at up to 1,200 homes

After Tesla’s massive plan to create a 50,000-home virtual power plant with Powerwalls being in jeopardy in Australia, another similar project is now been announced for a new ‘virtual power plant’.

New Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall, a member of the Liberal party who just replaced the Labor party, threw some cold water on the project, which is so far still going forward with the first 1,100 installations, but it could face some red tapes for the other 49,000 installations.

But now the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $7.7 million in funding for Simply Energy to build a second virtual power plant across Adelaide.

Like for Tesla’s own virtual power plant, Simply Energy confirmed that it plans to use Tesla’s Powerwall 2.

They described the project in a press release today:

“The $23 million project will deliver Tesla Powerwall 2 home batteries to up to 1200 Adelaide households representing 6 MW of residential energy storage. A further 2 MW of demand response capacity will be deployed across 10 commercial businesses.”

The goal is to have it up and running by the end of 2019.

It’s on a much smaller scale than the previous project, but ARENA is treating like a pilot project.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said about this project:

“We think consumer energy resources have a huge role to play in Australia’s energy future, but we are still figuring out how we can orchestrate rooftop solar and home batteries to feed back into the grid. This is technically hard to do, which is why these pilot projects are so important,” he said. “This is a potential model for how distributed energy resources can be operated at large scale in the future to help reduce energy prices,”

The project has the goal to lower the energy bill of families with the batteries while also stabilizing the grid by reducing peak power demand with the large energy storage capacity.

Electrek’s Take

With all those latest projects, Powerwalls have to be massively back-ordered.

Tesla hasn’t delivered most of the Powerwalls won through the referral program yet and it is now adding several projects with thousands of units.

And that’s on top of the several major Powerpack projects recently announced.

I’d be curious to know the current production capacity at Gigafactory 1.

They have been deploying about 150 MWh of energy storage per quarter, but the current rate implies close to doubling that this year, which would require over 1 GWh of production at Gigafactory 1 just for the stationary energy storage products.

That’s on top of the ~10 GWh of annual battery production rate that Tesla needs to be producing by the end of the month in order to support its planned Model 3 production rate.

Tesla doesn’t use the same cells for the Model 3 as the ones in the Powerwall and Powerpack, but it still adds to the total output of the factory.

Clarification: to be clear, they now all use the 2170 cell form factor, but not the same chemistry and while all battery packs are made at Gigafactory 1, not all the cells for the stationary energy storage products are made there.

It will be interesting to follow the increasing capacity in the next few months.

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