Virtual” Power Plant
Tesla has agreed a partnership with the State of South Australia to create a network of 50,000 solar powered homes to create a “virtual power plant”.
It aims to fit 250MW of photovoltaic panels to the homes, store excess energy in batteries to cover the hours of darkness and, if there is a net surplus,
to feed it into the state grid.
30% Cut in Energy Bills
Joe Quirke’s report in GCR that households that participate will have their energy bills cut by 30% over the next two years, according to the Australian Energy Market Commission, a total reduction of about US$235m. According to the South Australian government, residents will also benefit from increased energy stability.
(In 2016 a large blackout in the region caused as many as 10,000 homes to lose power for two days or more).
No Upfront Costs
Tesla’s products are being installed at no up-front cost, as households will pay for their panels through their electricity bills. A trial of 1,100
properties has already started. After the trial, the plan is to install similar systems at 50,000 homes over the next four years.
Grant + Loans
The project is funded with a $1.6m grant from the state government and a $24m loan from the Renewable Technology Fund. Zoe Bettison, South Australia’s
social housing minister, said:
“We know that people in social housing can often struggle meeting their everyday needs and this initiative will take some pressure off their household
budget. I am very pleased that this government is able to back South Australia’s housing trust tenants through providing cheaper power through this
UK Lagging Behind
Far from supporting such ventures, the UK Government has cut incentives to promote this type of renewable energy initiative. Nevertheless,
as Weekly Insight reported on 4th August last year, almost half of UK Homeowners would like to see both PV & battery storage installed in their homes
by 2020. However, we have yet to see any major offerings in this direction from UK house-builders and estate developers.
Timber Frame is a ‘Good Fit’
Due to the energy parameters of timber frame structures, as found in S. Australia, are eminently well suited to provide the shell structure – almost as
part of the ‘Fabric First’ philosophy, to address this. Doing so may place extra burdens and challenges on the small number of people with the knowledge,
design skills, and experience to do so, but unless part of some comprehensive (re-)development, which seems unlikely, most of the work will most likely be
quite individualised and on a small scale.
Prefabrication Is Key
Factory prefabrication of elements like walls, floors, and roofs offer arguably the best opportunities to integrate renewable energy components and
produce these under off-site factory controlled conditions. This can go a long way toward offering low cost energy saving homes. This includes the
availability of carefully selected complimentary components and methods to speed up work on site as well as providing unusual and hard to find
environmentally sound, eco-friendly, sustainable and complimentary building products and components that facilitate merging with local vernaculars.
Your Partner in Development
Whether you are an architect, builder or private client, almost certainly you are becoming aware of changing homeowner preferences and aspirations.
Working with our teams we believe will help you to provide you’re your clients want and more readily marketable homes.
Better all-round Savings
Our specialist services and CUSTOM homes division deliver best value and protect the interests of land owners, house-builder developers, professionals and
private individuals seeking to build their dream home. Our off-site construction systems also reduce the amount of material that gets wasted on site,
helping to avoid land fill, hazardous waste separation and handling, They also deliver better value for you and your customers.
PLEASE CONTACT US FOR AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION AS TO HOW WE MIGHT WORK TOGETHER
Call us to arrange a factory visit and discuss your ideas and needs with our in-house team of professionals for your next project. You’ll be glad you did!