Vermont’s main utility is going to be providing Tesla Powerwall home battery systems to customers who want them. If the utility’s customer agrees to allow the utility to use electricity stored in a Powerwall at home, the customer will also get paid for its use. There are three ways a customer can pay for the Powerwall:
“GMP outlined to the Vermont Public Service Board its plan to offer three options to customers who want the Powerwall. Customers who share access of the battery will pay about $37.50 a month with no upfront cost, which equals $1.25 a day. Customers can also choose to purchase the Powerwall for about $6500, share access with GMP, and get a monthly bill credit of $31.76, which represents the value of leveraging the battery to help lower peak energy costs. And Vermonters can buy the Powerwall outright from GMP with no shared access for about $6500.”
Of course, the Powerwall battery system is meant to be paired with a solar power system to store excess electricity for periods when there is no sunlight, such as cloudy days and at night. The utility will be able to use some of the stored electricity to meet demand on the grid, rather than using conventional sources, like firing up a peaker plant, such as the Berlin plant. “The Berlin Gas Turbine facility is the largest peaking plant in Vermont, and consists of a Pratt & Whitney Twin Pack gas turbine generator and two Pratt & Whitney Simple Cycle FT4 engines. The unit has an approximate capacity of 50 MW at full output. Low-sulfur kerosene fuels the engines from two on-site fuel tanks.” Peaker plants can be expensive to operate and are typically not very environmentally friendly, because they use fossil fuels.
“This is community energy at the most local level, helping to increase resiliency for customers while we lower costs through innovations like battery storage. This ties into our eHome and eBiz program, as we work with Vermonters to accelerate the adoption of energy transformations in homes and businesses that are cost effective, use dramatically less energy and can operate more independently of the grid,” explained GMP president Mary Powell.
Using many home battery systems filled with electricity generated by solar panels is much better for the environment, and can be cheaper.
The utility will purchase 500 Powerwalls from Tesla in 2016 for the home energy storage program.
Of course, Vermont residents are still free to purchase and install other home energy storage batteries. The Powerwall seems to be the default option because of its low cost and high brand factor. In other words, the Tesla brand has become synonymous with boldness and quality in its niche.
Image Credit: Tesla