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What are virtual power plants (VPP) and why do they matter?

Supercharge your solar with VPP


From virtual currency to virtual meetings, we live in an increasingly virtual world. Over the past few years, there’s been a buzz in the energy industry around virtual power plants, or VPPs. 

But what is a VPP? How does it work? And why should you care?

What is a virtual power plant?

As Australians install rooftop solar panels at a world-leading rate, the electricity network is transforming, and VPPs are part of this transformation. 

In most cases, when energy companies talk about VPPs, we’re talking about a cloud-based network of connected home solar systems and batteries that together support the electricity grid.  

When used together, this network of batteries acts as one big battery that functions like a pop-up power plant, generating a large bank of controllable solar power when the grid needs an injection of energy. 

How do virtual power plants work?

The participants of the virtual power plant opt in to a VPP program and are connected to the VPP’s central control system. This central system can be monitored and accessed by the energy retailer or provider via a remote-control unit. 

In times of peak demand on the electricity grid, virtual power plants draw a small amount of the energy stored in each of the connected solar batteries. The VPP then  combines this energy and contribute it back into the electricity grid.  

Why are VPPs important?

The dependable supply of solar energy produced by a VPP not only helps stabilise the electricity grid (meaning less blackouts in peak demand times), but it’s also a more sustainable energy solution than a conventional power plant. 

A virtual power plant reduces reliance on coal power. This is because while the energy conventional power plants produce comes from fossil fuels such as coal, which have harmful effects on health and the environment, the energy solar virtual power plants generate comes from a cleaner, renewable energy source (the sun). It’s a smarter, more sustainable energy solution that helps take care of the community and environment while supporting the grid. 

What are the benefits of joining a VPP program?

Put simply, being part of a VPP program helps you supercharge the benefits of your home solar and battery system. 

Not only will you receive monetary rewards for helping support the grid through the excess electricity stored in your battery (via VPP community credits and other savings that can help lower your energy bills), but you’ll also be helping to create a cleaner, smarter and more reliable energy system for the future. 

Virtual power plants in Australia

Australia, the ‘sunburnt country’, is the perfect place to harness the power of solar through virtual power plants – more than two million Australian households already enjoy the benefits of rooftop solar panels. 

ENGIE’s first VPP in South Australia won two prestigious awards and created value for more than 1,300 customers. We’re now delivering our virtual power plant program to customers in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

How do I set up a VPP plan?

Want to be part of the shift to more sustainable energy solutions? Our VPP is available to eligible residents of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. You’ll get an up-front credit, ongoing monthly credits, and a competitive feed-in tariff. 

Learn more about our award winning VPP program

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