Solar power to deliver cheap energy for social housing

South Australia is set to roll out support for social housing residents in the form of cheaper electricity, on behalf of the state government.

In collaboration with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Government will streamline an expansion on a project headed by Tesla for installations across Housing SA properties.

Through this program, eligible Housing SA tenants will be given access to five kilowatts of solar power systems across their property, alongside a 13.5-kilowatt-hour battery storage system – the Tesla Powerwall.

Zero net carbon homes will be trialled in Melbourne's growth corridors under a joint state government and Sustainability Victoria scheme.

Bringing accessible, affordable electricity to SA

There are currently more than 1000 properties active in the project, with Government funding set to roll the initiative out to an additional 3000 homes. This comes at no cost to tenants.

Among numerous benefits, tenants will get access to electricity rates that sit 22 per cent lower than traditional offers.

“The Government’s support for this project will help demonstrate that virtual power plant projects can deliver valuable network services in addition to providing electricity bill reductions for tenants and value to the virtual power plant owner,” said Cormann.

“Success through this project will help create a sufficiently strong business case to assist in attracting further private sector funding for future virtual power plant projects.”

Alongside Cormann, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor noted the project will help support a number of energy security issues in SA, as well as increase the accessibility of rising energy technologies.

“This project will deliver relief and reduce the cost of power bills for South Australians living in Housing SA residences,” said Taylor.

“The virtual power plant (VPP) could help tenants meet up to 80 per cent of their annual electricity needs, offering the lowest electricity rate in the State.”

Taylor also added that the project is a prime example of how both solar and solar battery technology can team up to form an “aggregated asset”, ultimately able to help Aussie households fulfil their energy needs, all the while increasing grid stability and eliminating emissions.

“Importantly, the Government is helping to deliver renewable systems to those who wouldn’t always have the means or ability to access these technologies.”


Job opportunities on the horizon

The social housing project is also expected to open up 80 full-time job opportunities for skilled electricians in the state. These openings will span across 18 months.

The Australian Government has also invested $8.2 million in grant funding through ARENA, alongside a $30 million investment from the CEFC. These figures will go towards the total project cost that’s expected to reach $60.6 million.

Additionally, the SA Government has devoted $10 million through its Grid Scale Storage Fund initiative, while Tesla has also delivered an equity-based contribution.

Once up and running across the board, the project is hoped to generate up to 20 megawatts in solar power with 54-megawatt hours of combined battery storage.

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