What is a Virtual Power Plant?
A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of solar systems and batteries, connected together using technology and software. This enables them to share energy and put energy into the central grid. A VPP represents a single large power source, made of lots of smaller individual ones. It’s usually managed by a central operator, who is able to coordinate renewable energy supply and deliver it to the grid if required.
When you are part of a VPP, the operator can draw on the energy stored in your battery and in doing so, pay you for your input. Different VPPs have different arrangements for their members.
VPP can also include other places that store energy, such as electric vehicles, which are typically storing (rather than using) energy for a large part of the day. With increasing uptake of electric vehicles, this form of energy storage is likely to increase.
What are the benefits of a VPP?
When you register with a VPP, you could get paid for the electricity stored in your battery. This is on top of your normal solar feed-in tariff (allocated to you when your excess energy is exported to the grid, when your battery is full).
Being part of a VPP also means you’re supporting your local grid - and your community - during periods of high demand and potential blackouts. By sharing your stored electricity, you help to stabilise the overall network and make renewable energy more reliable for everyone.
In this way, you contribute to the growth of a reliable renewable energy network and increase demand for solar technologies. More solar is good for people, and great for the planet. In the long-term, if we want to phase out power plants powered by fossil fuels, we need a reliable and stable source of energy that provides electricity when it’s needed. VPPs provide a solution.
Are there any drawbacks to VPPs?
The VPP operator will draw energy from your battery when it’s needed most. Typically they will not use all the energy in your battery, and they won't use it often.
How can I get involved?
When it launches, Plico’s will be Australia’s first fully privately-funded VPP, which uses Australian-made software for aggregation and control of the generated energy.
Plico options include a battery and inverter installation, in addition to your solar panels (with no upfront cost). Our plans also include 10 years of warranty and servicing, and replacement parts.