Green Mountain Power (GMP) of Vermont is beginning to sell discounted Tesla Powerwalls to its customers to help stabilize the power grid.
This is the first report of a utility company teaming up with Tesla to promote the energy storage devices. Consumers will benefit from making better use of renewable energy and GMP will benefit as well.
Vermont Public Radio reported that the customers will have to agree to occasionally discharge power from the battery packs, back into the grid. GMP said that, following the periodic discharges, the homeowners’ batteries will be quickly recharged for their use in case of an outage.
The system will store excess energy from the homes’ solar panels, for use when the sun is not shining. Without the Powerwall, homeowners would often have to send energy back to the grid. While some users will charge the Powerwall with solar energy and then use it at other times, many users will just hook up the Powerwall as an emergency back up. Either way, all of the discounted units that GMP offers will be set up to discharge into the grid when needed.
GMP plans to distribute 500 total units to test the new plan. Powerwalls cost $6,500 each, equipped with AC to DC converters for grid interfacing. Powerwall costumers connected to the grid will receive a $2,000 discount from GMP. The company is not receiving a discount from Tesla.
It has been reported that utility companies may have concerns about consumers creating and storing their own power. Nevertheless, the technology is available to consumers, and gaining interest, so this new concept by GMP creates a way for current utility companies and new technology to work in harmony. The benefits go in all directions, to consumers, utility companies, new tech companies producing solar arrays and energy storage units, and most importantly, the environment.
NV Energy of Nevada is looking into a similar plan.