Vermont is starting to get a significant number of Tesla Powerwalls installed through the company’s partnership with Green Mountain Power (GMP), an important electric utility in Vermont.
This latest heat wave in the northeast has hit Vermont pretty hard and GMP says that the energy storage capacity of its network of Powerwalls is making the difference during the peak demand.
Josh Castonguay, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at GMP, commented (via Vermont Biz):
“We know our customers are environmentally conscious and make smart choices about their energy use every day. In this heat wave, our customers’ safety and comfort is key. We are so glad to be able to leverage innovation like battery storage to bring down costs for customers and keep them comfortable and safe. Our growing network of stored energy is allowing us to use technology, in partnership with our customers, to deliver innovative solutions today.
In April, we reported on GMP’s energy storage effort to deploy 2,000 Tesla Powerwalls.
At the time, GMP said that they had about 220 Powerwalls installed at customer homes. A few months later, now the company says that they have about 500 Tesla Powerwalls deployed.
GMP was one of the first companies to get on board with Tesla’s energy storage products as they made a deal with the company back when they introduced the first generation of the Powerwall in 2015.
Now they are deploying the Tesla Powerwall 2 to create a sort of “virtual power plant.”
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, like a virtual power plant.
With 500 Powerwalls now, it’s over 5,000 kWh of energy capacity to release during peak demand, like when everyone is running their AC during a heat wave.
It’s still not a very large capacity, but it is already making a difference for a relatively small utility and it is growing fast as GMP aims to have 2,000 Tesla Powerwalls deployed by the end of the year.
As the capacity increases, GMP can more easily respond to peak in electricity demand with stored renewable energy instead of more costly and polluting fossil fuels.
While Tesla’s large-scale energy storage projects mainly involve Powerpacks, several other “virtual power plant” projects have recently been announced using their Powerwalls.
In Australia, there’s Tesla’s massive plan to create a 50,000-home virtual power plant with Powerwalls and they recently announced that they will supply another ‘virtual power plant’ with Powerwalls at up to 1,200 homes.
The company has also been deploying Powerwalls in smaller quantities with its residential solar projects, like its recent solar roof installations.