Media Releases → 2020


Delivering cheap power for social housing

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

The Hon. Angus Taylor MP
Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction
Federal Member for Hume

Date: Friday, 4 September 2020

Social housing residents in South Australia are going to benefit from cheaper electricity thanks to the Government.  

The Government, through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is supporting the expansion of a project led by Tesla installed at Housing SA residences.  

Under the initiative, participating Housing SA tenants will have 5 kilowatts of solar installed at their home, along with a 13.5-kilowatt hour Tesla Powerwall battery storage system. 

More than 1,000 properties are already participating in the project. The Government’s funding injection will see it rolled out across a further 3,000 homes across Adelaide at no cost to tenants.  

The tenants will be able to benefit from electricity rates 22 per cent lower than the Default Market Offer. 

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said that commercially, virtual power plant projects have yet to demonstrate long term investment value and attract debt financing, and that this project will help set a precedent for similar future projects. 

“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 Minister 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.” 

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the project will help address energy security issues in South Australia and increase the availability of new energy technologies.  

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

“The SA VPP project is a great example of how solar and battery technology, when connected to form an aggregated asset, can help Australian households meet their energy needs, support grid stability and lower emissions. 

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

The project is expected to create the equivalent of 80 full time jobs for skilled electricians in South Australia during the 18-month rollout. 

The Australian Government is supporting the expansion project with an $8.2 million grant from ARENA, and a $30 million investment from the CEFC, with the total project cost expected to be $60.6 million.  

The South Australian Government has committed $10 million through its Grid Scale Storage Fund program. Tesla has also made an equity contribution to the project. 

The SA VPP is expected to generate up to 20 megawatts in solar energy with 54 megawatt hours of combined battery storage. 

A VPP is a centrally-managed network of battery systems installed behind-the-meter that can be collectively controlled and dispatched to deliver benefits to households, energy retailers, to the local network. 

The Australian Government has substantial investments in clean energy technology, with more than $10 billion invested in more than 670 clean energy projects, with a total project value in excess of $35 billion.  

Homes involved in the extended rollout of the project will also be included in a VPP trial being run by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which aims to export excess energy and provide grid security to the National Electricity Market. 


Media Contact(s)

Minister Cormann’s office: Karen Wu 0428 350 139
Minister Taylor’s office: Liam O’Neil 0428 113 617