Vic Government Delivers Virtual Power Plant Program

By Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang
Marina Zhang is a health writer for The Epoch Times, based in New York. She mainly covers stories on COVID-19 and the healthcare system and has a bachelors in biomedicine from The University of Melbourne. Contact her at
January 6, 2022Updated: January 6, 2022

The Victorian government has introduced a pilot program designed to create a new virtual power plant pilot (VPP) program in a move designed to push the state’s electrical grid towards a more sustainable future.

The two-year pilot program introduced on Dec. 24 will be overseen by Solar Victoria with a cap of 2000 rebates for Victorians.

It is only eligible for homes that already have solar panels as the program is looking to install solar batteries in these homes at a fixed rate of $4,174 towards the upfront cost of a solar battery and installation for those that join an approved VPP program.

Minister for Solar Homes Lily D’Ambrosio said that “the Virtual Power Plant pilot program will connect Victorian households, so that they can create and share power, save money on energy bills and increase the resilience of the grid, together.”

“Victorians have overwhelmingly embraced solar. Virtual power plants are designed to capture and use the clean energy our growing network of solar homes are producing.”

The southern state has been moving to cleaner energy sources, with the latest data from Solar Victoria showing that there are now 510,000 small-scale solar panel systems installed. Altogether they generate almost a third of the state’s total residential electricity demand, with more than 15,000 households also having a solar battery.

The Victorian government hopes that the electricity stored in the batteries will offset the electricity grid during power outages or weather conditions where solar power is not generated to power individual homes.

The name virtual power plant comes from the expectation that the excess energy generated would be equivalent to a power plant, albeit one made from smaller solar panel systems amassed together.

Excess electricity generated from individual homes will feed into the grid to power other areas, serving as an alternative power source during power outages.

When demand for electricity is high, the electricity generated can be fed into the VPP network, aiming to reduce the stress load during peak times to create a more reliable network.

Under the terms of the contracts, the amount of energy shared and the amount left in the battery for household use, along with compensation, is agreed upon upfront.

Four approved providers – Reposit, Sonnen, Q-Cells and Mondo – have signed on to deliver the program, and participants will be paid for excess energy.

Depending on the VPP program the participant signs up for, there will be different incentives, with some programs available state-wide, while others are tailored to a specific region.

However, one concern with solar energy is that during periods where solar panels generate a lot of power – usually during the midday – it can cause grid over-voltage, which will usually result in lowered to no energy output from the inverter with wastage of energy as the outcome.

The inverter is responsible for converting direct current electricity, which solar panels generate, to alternative current—what the grid uses. Once the inverters shut off from overvoltage, they will need to be manually turned on.

Grid overvoltage has been a growing concern, especially with more people switching to sustainable energies; it can only be expected that the number of consumers experiencing this will increase.

Australia’s Energy Security Board (ESB) previously warned that alongside management of distributed energy resources, an entire suite of reforms would be needed to ensure energy security as more renewable generation rolled out.

“This isn’t just a tweak around the edges,” previously said ESB Chair Kerry Schott. “It’s about a whole redesign of the national electricity market.