Tesla and SA government sign deal to build 50,000-home virtual solar plant
Elon Musk’s Tesla and the South Australian government have reached an agreement regarding the development of a giant solar plant.
In what is being termed the world’s largest virtual power plant, Tesla Powerwall 2 panels will be installed on 50,000 homes for free. The energy stored in these homes will be connected up to a central control system which will manage the flow of power.
Tesla has already opened the world’s largest battery in South Australia, a system designed to help avoid outages in peak periods.
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The new virtual power plant will effectively create a 250MW station, and Tesla says it can store up to 650MWh of energy.
To help get the project moving, the SA government is lending Tesla $30mn from its Renewable Technology Fund. It also predicts that energy bills for the 50,000 households could fall by as much as 30%.
Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said: “With the Tesla battery at Jamestown in place, the Port Augusta solar thermal plant under development and now the world’s largest Virtual Power Plant announced, South Australia is leading the way in the storage of renewable energy.
“This is a booming global industry and we want as many jobs in this sector as possible created here in South Australia.”
Around 500 jobs will be created during the installation and manufacturing process, with an agreement in place to use local contractors throughout the project.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.