Tesla launches ‘Tesla Electric’ to become an electricity retailer

Tesla has launched “Tesla Electric” to become an electricity retailer through its Powerwall owners – starting with some markets in Texas.

After gaining experience through its virtual power plants (VPPs), Tesla is taking things a step further with the launch of “Tesla Electric.”

Instead of reacting to specific “events” and providing services to your local electric utilities, like Tesla Powerwall owners have done in VPPs in California, Tesla Electric is actively and automatically buying and selling electricity for Tesla Powerwall owners – providing a buffer against peak prices.

It’s a special electric plan for Powerwall owners. Tesla writes about its new product on its website:

Solar and Powerwall can help you and your community accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. With Tesla Electric, your Powerwall automatically decides when to charge and when to sell electricity to the grid. Together with other Tesla Electric members, you can maximize the value of your solar energy while using your Powerwall storage to add more renewable electricity to the grid. You can also achieve your own sustainability goals when importing electricity from the grid, as Tesla Electric offsets your usage with energy from 100 percent renewable sources.

The company notes that Tesla Electric’s retail plan is currently only available by invitation to select customers in Texas.

Tesla has been working on this new product for a while now, and it is a big step toward the company’s goal to become a “global distributed clean electric utility,” and it is starting in Texas, a place that badly needs an electric utility revolution.

In May, we reported on Tesla lobbying for any homeowner with solar and batteries to participate in Texas’s energy market.

The company was asking for a rule change with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), an organization operating Texas’s electrical grid, that would enable electric utilities with customers with behind-the-meter solar and batteries, meaning people with residential solar, to bid on the extra capacity.

Earlier this week, we reported that Tesla received approval from ERCOT for “a statewide market design pilot for small distributed energy resources to provide grid service exports.”

It looks like the company was already ready to launch its new product.

Electrek’s Take

Top comment by ML194152

Liked by 7 people

I live in the Houston area and signed up just 1 hour ago. I have 2 Powerwalls and 24 panels (with another Powerwall and 12 panels coming in January). It was a seamless signup process, with the only disappointment being the requirement of paying via a checking account. No credit cards accepted (I get 2% cash back on mine). They give 90% of the retail price back from any excess energy I produce. Also their rates include TDU delivery charges which makes the 14 cents per kWh they charge much cheaper than the 22 cents (6.7 cents plus TDU) I currently pay.

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This looks closer to what Musk described when he said he wanted Tesla Energy to become “a distributed global utility and could outgrow automotive business.”

It is starting with Texas, but I assume that Tesla is going to want to expand this product everywhere it also sells Powerwalls.

I think it is going to be a difficult regulatory market to navigate, but it adds enough value that it should be adopted. It will require a lot of work, though.

Hopefully, this deployment in Texas will be successful and Tesla, or Tesla Electric now, can use it as an example for new markets.

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