Elon Musk is giving 50,000 Australian homes free solar panels and batteries

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The partnership between Elon Musk and the Australian state of South Australia continues to grow, with the tech entrepreneur reaching a deal with state premier Jay Weatherhill to provide free Tesla solar panels and batteries to at least 50,000 homes. 

Late last year, Tesla completed its project to build the world’s largest li-ion battery as a solution to power outages that were plaguing South Australia. The project was initiated via Twitter as a bet (which proved successful), with Musk promising the system “100 days from contract signature or it is free”.

The proposed network of solar-enabled homes will constitute the "world’s biggest Virtual Power Plant", with energy companies covering the cost by selling off excess electricity generated by the homes.

The rollout

Roughly 100 homes are already slated to have the Tesla tech installed by mid-year, and a further 1,000 should be fitted out throughout the following year to take part in the initial trial of the system.

If the trial proves successful, more than 50,000 South Australian homes will receive the solar panelling and batteries within four years. Residents who want to register their interest in the scheme, or anyone who wants to learn more about the project, can visit the dedicated Virtual Power Plant website.