50,000 homes in South Australia to receive Tesla solar panels
The American automotive and energy firm, Tesla, has partnered with the south Australian government to develop a giant solar plant.
In what is being termed the world’s largest virtual power plant, the project will install 50,000 homes with Tesla Powerwall 2 panels for free.
The energy stored in these homes will be connected up to a central control system which will manage the flow of power.
The new virtual power plant will effectively create a 250MW station, and Tesla says it can store up to 650MWh of energy.
The South Australian government are investing AU$30mn into the project, sourcing the money from its Renewable Technology Fund.
It also predicts that energy bills for the 50,000 households could fall by as much as 30%.
“With the Tesla battery at Jamestown in place, the Port Augusta solar thermal plant under development and now the world’s largest Virtual Power Plant announced, South Australia is leading the way in the storage of renewable energy” stated Energy Minister, Tom Koutsantonis.
“This is a booming global industry and we want as many jobs in this sector as possible created here in South Australia.”
Around 500 jobs will be created during the installation and manufacturing process, with an agreement in place to use local contractors throughout the project.
Last year Tesla opened the world’s largest battery in South Australia in a bid to avoid outages in peak periods.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.