If you’re currently investigating solar systems or battery storage for your home, chances are you might have come across the term Virtual Power Plant. This refers to a relatively new opportunity for solar powered households to consider, so in this blog we’ll introduce the concept, highlight the pro’s and cons and give you a few insider tips to help streamline your research and decision-making process.
Virtual Power Plant
Let’s start with the basics.
A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of distributed energy resources – such as residential solar and battery systems – that all work together as a single power plant.
The solar and battery systems can be located across many neighbourhoods and centrally controlled using WiFi technology and sophisticated software to charge or dispatch energy from the batteries.
Joining a VPP can be a smart way to optimise the return in investment on your battery system as you get money towards joining bringing the battery cost down. A core component of a VPP is the ability for a VPP operator to cycle a battery when it is needed, regardless of the homeowner’s current energy needs
VPP operators offer a range of financial incentives and other benefits to households in return for joining a VPP. These incentives can include discounted solar and battery systems or lease-to-own plans, reward payments, low electricity tariffs, back-up protection, and credits on your electricity bill each time your battery is used by the operator during a VPP event.
Now you’re probably wondering what a VPP event is and how you, the operator and other households in your network stand to benefit from it.
First up, a VPP event is essentially an exchange of electricity between your battery and the grid (with power either moving from the grid into your battery or from your battery into the grid), facilitated by your Virtual Power Plant network which exists to facilitate electricity trading.
During a VPP event, the operator may discharge (sell) some of the electricity in your battery and/or charge your battery (buying electricity from the grid). Some operators may use your solar and battery system to provide grid stability services by discharging and/or charging the batteries for shorter periods at rapid speed to raise or lower the frequency of electricity in the grid.
Either way, the VPP operator will seek to generate revenue from trading electricity on the National Electricity Market, and reward you and the other households enrolled in the VPP for your participation.
SolarQuotes have a handy comparison chart to help guide you through the various Virtual Power Plant programs currently on offer in Australia however herre at Goliath we recommend the Tesla VPP via Energy Locals.
Tips For Households
While the concept of joining a VPP is still somewhat new, VPPs are quickly gaining momentum as households look to take advantage of the financial incentives they offer.
When researching a VPP, you might like to consider:
- What do you know about the VPP operator and electricity retailer (if they are not the same company)?
- Which batteries can be enrolled in the VPP?
- How much does the system cost (including installation and new solar panels if needed)?
- How will you be rewarded for participating in the VPP (ie. annual, monthly or daily reward payments, a discounted battery, an exclusive retail offer)?
- What electricity plan will you be on and how does the usage charge and daily supply charge and Feed in Tariff (FiT) compare to other retail offers in the market?
- How much of the battery can you reserve for back up protection?
- Is there a contract term and/or early termination fee?
- How much electricity is the VPP operator contractually allowed to draw from your battery each year?
South Australian VPPs
In South Australia, there are several VPPs in the market using batteries which are eligible for the Home Battery Scheme subsidy.
Here at Goliath Solar & Electrical we currently recommend the Tesla Energy Plan, details are listed below.
Tesla Energy Plan
As a South Australian resident, join the Tesla Energy Plan and save $8,201 off the price of Powerwall (inc. GST and the Home Battery Rebate) and receive the lowest energy rate in the state*.
It has never been more affordable to power everything with clean, reliable energy.
Save on Bills
Save over $300 per year by receiving a $0 supply charge and the best electricity rate in South Australia.
Capture Your Energy
Powerwall easily integrates with solar to provide continuous power, reducing your reliance on the grid.
Protect Your Home
Powerwall works with solar to power your home 24/7, even during blackouts.
Control Your Energy from Anywhere
Seamlessly monitor and automatically manage your Powerwall and solar panels anytime, anywhere with the Tesla app.
Want To Learn More?
If you’re ready to talk battery installs and connecting to a Virtual Power Plant, feel free to reach out for a quote!