As a major step towards Victoria’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, state government entity Solar Victoria has launched an innovative Virtual Power Plant (VPP) pilot, which enables households with solar batteries to share their stored clean energy, writes Gavin Dennett.

With the household solar network booming in Victoria, the two-year pilot forms part of the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes program. Households that sign up to the pilot prior to 30 June, 2022, and install a battery will receive a rebate of $4174, subject to eligibility criteria.

Five approved providers – Tesla, Mondo, Reposit, Sonnen and Arcstream – have signed on to deliver six VPPs as part of the pilot.

Participants in a VPP delivered by one of the approved providers will be paid for excess energy fed to the electricity grid, reducing those households’ power bills and increasing grid reliability for other users.

“The VPP pilot program is a first for Victoria, and is an innovative new way we can capture and use the clean energy being produced by our ever-growing network of household solar,” says Solar Victoria CEO Stan Krpan.

“We are really excited to be working with our approved VPP providers to deliver the program and additional benefits to Solar Victoria customers.

“Victorians have overwhelmingly embraced solar, and now we are seeing people increasingly turning to batteries. VPPs are the evolution of this, designed to maximise the use of this clean energy so everyone can benefit.

“The VPP pilot will connect Victorian households so they can create and share power, save money on energy bills, and increase the resilience of the grid.”

Each of the approved VPP providers offer different incentives, such as discounts on hardware, reduced energy bills, and financial compensation for taking part.

By joining Solar Victoria’s VPP pilot program, customers receive guaranteed financial benefits and additional consumer protections not widely available in the general market.

The VPP pilot is an extension of Solar Victoria’s battery rebate program, in which more than 8000 Victorian households have been supported to install batteries.

Since the Solar Homes program was launched in 2018, more than 185,000 Victorian homes and businesses have accessed rebates to install solar panels.