As we previously reported, the rollout of Powerwalls, Tesla’s residential energy storage system, has been fairly slow over the last year since the launch of the second generation.
But homeowners in Vermont are among the first to get access to the new device through Tesla’s partnership with a local electric utility.
They now have reportedly installed Powerwalls at over 100 homes in the state.
To be fair, it seems that Tesla’s Powerwall deployment was slowed down as the company’s energy division focused on bigger projects using Powerpacks, its bigger energy storage system for commercial and utility-scale projects. It also focused on sending energy storage systems to Puerto Rico following the devastation of their electric grid by two hurricanes earlier this year.
All of this resulted in most Powerpack installations going to California and Australia. We saw a few other markets receive shipments, but it appeared to be fairly limited in comparison to Tesla’s home state.
Earlier this year, we reported that Tesla Powerwalls were used in almost 2,000 projects since the launch of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP).
In September, we learned that Minnesota also received a few units, but now it looks like Vermont might be leading for deployment outside California.
Green Mountain Power (GMP), an electric utility servicing 265,000 residential and business customers in Vermont, has been an early adopter of Tesla’s energy storage products and they made a deal with the company back when they introduced the first generation of the Powerwall in 2015.
But when Tesla announced its new electric grid services earlier this year, GMP got onboard in a bigger way with the announcement that they will install Powerpacks on utility land and deploy up to 2,000 Powerwall batteries to homeowners within the utility’s service territory.
Now, local news reports that they have started installations and has interviewed one of the “102 Vermonters who have a Tesla Powerwall already up and running.”
GMP reportedly has a backlog of 1,200 homeowners interested in the device.
Under their agreement with the electric utility, homeowners who receive a Powerwall are able to use it for backup power for “$15 a month or a $1,500 one-time fee”, which is significantly less expensive the ~$7,000 cost of the device with installation, but in return, Green Mountain Power is able to access the energy in the pack to support its grid.
GMP CEO Mary Powell says that it is already having an impact on their use of peaker plant:
“Having those 100 signed up is like virtually disconnecting, like taking 500 homes completely off the grid. That’s the equivalent. So you can only imagine when we get up to 2,000 and when we go further.”
It has value for the electric utility, but it’s also valuable for homeowners. WCAX interviewed one of the homeowners who recently got two Powerwall 2s installed, Andy McMahan, and she says that there was an outage just days after the system was installed.
The first time around, the Powewalls had an issue, but it became functional after a reboot.
“Boom! All the lights came on and we were golden after that,” she said. “The seamlessness is just, you know, you don’t have to go out and start a generator. It just– it’s quiet, doesn’t use fuel, it’s what it is– it’s powered by the sun,”
McMahan has solar panels feeding electricity to her Powerwalls and she says the next time her grid connection failed, she didn’t even realize it until after the fact since the Powerwalls kicked in.
It’s fun to see some more Powerwall deployment because that’s definitely another product launch that has falling behind. Tesla has been guiding the Founders Series Powerwall installations from the referral program since last summer and it has yet to happen as far as we know.
Several markets still don’t have any installation and no clear idea of when it could start.
In its last shareholder’s letter, Tesla wrote that they are still seeing demand for Powerwalls and Powerpacks increasing and they expect production to follow in 2018.
Hopefully, we start seeing wider deployment in the coming months.