There’s been growing interest in virtual power plants over the last few years, which utilize decentralized energy storage to power the grid.
Tesla has been at the forefront of it with its own giant virtual power plant with Powerwalls in Australia.
Now Tesla is also working with National Grid on a new virtual power plant project:
“National Grid customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island can now enroll their Powerwall in ConnectedSolutions, a program that links batteries across the state together to create a large supply of sustainable energy to be used during peak demand.”
Most Powerwall owners (and owners of any home energy storage systems) are using the devices to maximize the use of their solar power or have backup power in case of an outage.
In a virtual power plant, you also give your local utility access to the energy capacity inside your Powerwall to use it when needed:
“You can expect National Grid to request power from your Powerwall for a few hours up to 75 days per year (roughly 60 summer days and 15 winter days). During the hottest part of summer, you can expect an event almost every weekday. Tesla will charge the battery for best event performance and command the battery to discharge during the event. At all other times, you can choose how the battery behaves through your Tesla app.”
Powerwall owners get compensated for sharing their power.
If your Powerwall is combined with a solar generation system, the revenue can reach $1,000 per year in Rhode Island, which can accelerate the payback time of your home battery pack. A Tesla Powerwall costs over $8,000 installed.
Tesla explains the compensation:
“ConnectedSolutions is a performance-based program. Your payment will be based on your average power contribution during peak events. Tesla will manage your system for you to maximize your performance, but it will depend on your Powerwall system, and we don’t guarantee any dollar value.
The highest-earning Powerwall system will be one that is paired with enough solar generation to completely recharge the battery every day. These systems will be able to discharge the most capacity during events. If there is plenty of solar generation to recharge the batteries, then Powerwall could earn as much as $700 a year in MA and $1,000 a year in RI by participating in ConnectedSolutions.
Powerwall systems not paired with solar generation will not be allowed to export power to the grid, but will still be able to discharge to serve home load. This limitation will greatly reduce the earning potential, but if the home load during events averages 1kW, Powerwall can still earn as much as $200 a year in MA and $290 a year in RI.”
Homeowners will get paid by Tesla at the end of each season.
Current Tesla Powerwall owners who are National Grid customers in Massachusetts or Rhode Island can apply to the program here. If you are a National Grid customer in Massachusetts or Rhode Island but don’t have a Powerwall, you can inquire with Tesla about getting one.