The South Australian government's plan to install solar panels and Tesla batteries in 50,000 homes will create hundreds of jobs, Premier Jay Weatherill says.
Mr Weatherill said about 250 jobs will be created from the installation of the panels and batteries and up to 260 more in the supply chain, as the government’s contract with Tesla requires local contractors be used.
The network of home solar systems, backed up by battery storage, would deliver the world’s largest “virtual power plant”, he said.
“The critical issue here is we are introducing a new generator into the system, a 250-megawatt generator, and the key to putting downward pressure on prices is new generation,” Mr Weatherill said.
“A large amount of power into the market at a time of peak demand, that has to lower energy prices because it shaves those summer peaks.”
He said independent analysis showed participants could expect their energy bills to be lowered by 30 per cent.
The $800 million project is being funded by a $2 million grant and $30 million loan to Tesla, with the company and other investors having to raise the rest of the funds.
Homeowners who have the systems installed won’t own the power they generate but will be able to buy it back from a designated retailer at a discounted rate.
The batteries will first be rolled out to a number of Housing Trust homes via an opt-in scheme and will later be offered to other households.
The premier said around 7000 people had already signed expressions of interest.
He said the government would release a market notice this week seeking a retailer to deliver the program.
The government also announced Tesla will establish a service hub in Adelaide’s south to monitor and service the batteries along with its other projects in the state.