“Australia’s largest” virtual power plant completed by AGL in South Australia

AGL Energy has marked the installation of the 1,000th – and final – battery system in its South Australia virtual power plant, a milestone it says makes the 5MW scheme the largest of its kind completed and operating in Australia.

The “significant achievement” completes the market leading project, which was announced in August 2015 – originally with a combined battery capacity of 7MW that would both store rooftop solar power and help manage grid stability in the state.

The batteries for the VPP were originally supplied by US-based energy management company, Sunverge, but the scheme was eventually expanded to include batteries from Tesla, LG Chem and SolarEdge’s StorEdge.

In July, AGL launched a $1000 cash-back offer on the cost of a home battery system for customers participating in the $20 million project, to boost its uptake.

The offer meant Adelaide customers could get up to $7,000 toward the upfront cost of a new battery, including a payment of $1,000 from AGL and the S.A. government subsidy of up to $6,000.

AGL flagged the expansion of its VPP trial – both the boost to incentives in South Australia, and a push into other states – in June.

In a statement on Thursday, AGL’s general manager of distributed energy, Dominique Van Den Berg, thanked the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for its support of the scheme, including $5 million in funding.

“The 5MW project was ground-breaking when it was announced and, as a result of the rapid advances in hardware and software, it has the most advanced VPP technology available in the market today,” she said.

“Orchestrating these systems as a virtual power plant enables us to share additional value with customers and is also a great example of the innovative culture we are fostering at AGL.”

Van Den Berg said the knowledge gained from the Adelaide VPP had helped AGL develop two new battery offers, recently launched to customers in other states.

“The first offer, for customers in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia who already have batteries, provides up to $280 in bill credits over the first 12 months if they bring their batteries into the VPP,” she said.

“The second offer, for customers who want to buy batteries, provides them with a subsidy of up to $6,000 from the South Australian Government for a new battery and a payment of $1,000 from AGL when connecting the battery to the VPP.”

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