Tesla's virtual power plant (VPP) in Vermont saved residents $3M in peak costs and kept the lights on during severe winter storms. The VPP consists of 4,800 Powerwall units with a total capacity of 27 megawatts.
Since 2015, Vermont-based Green Mountain Power has helped a limited number of customers install home batteries each year. Vermont's largest utility is dramatically increasing subsidies for home batteries and is now preparing for unprecedented growth.
Vermont utility Green Mountain Power was one of the first to use small solar panels and energy storage in customers' homes to improve overall grid performance. Since 2015, the company has subsidized customers who require battery backup. In exchange, they use these batteries to reduce grid costs for all customers during times of peak electricity demand. This fleet has now grown to 4,800 batteries with a total capacity of 27 megawatts.
4800 Powerwalls saved Vermont residents $3M in peak costs & kept the lights on during the worst storms last winterhttps://t.co/CRJDPK61ld— Tesla Energy (@teslaenergy) September 7, 2023
The state has faced a string of weather disasters this year. Winter storms hit Vermont, and there were floods and heat waves throughout the year. After this, more and more customers asked for batteries to power their homes. Government regulators have placed a cap on the number of people who can join the program each year, and the waitlist for a Tesla Powerwall under the program stretches until 2026.
“We were filling up the customers at the beginning of the year pretty quickly and then creating a waiting list,” said Josh Castonguay, the top innovation executive at the investor-owned utility, which serves 270,000 customers in Vermont. “Clearly the program is successful, it’s performing as we expect, and customers are looking for this.”
However, on Aug. 18, the Vermont Public Utility Commission decided to lift the annual cap that allowed about 500 customers to receive Tesla Powerwalls and 500 to receive a credit to purchase their own batteries (technically the cap was 5 megawatts per program). In just a few years, Green Mountain Power has gone from a small pilot test to an annual battery program. It is now given free rein to meet organic demand from customers, at least until the program is renewed in three years.
Customers who choose Powerwall pay the utility $55 a month to use the battery with no deposit. Payments stop after 10 years, after which the household can use the system for free until it stops working. It will then be collected by the utility company for safe disposal through recycling. The “bring your own device” offering pays households that buy and install their own battery system up to $10,500, a substantial chunk of the cost for popular models.
Green Mountain Power uses Tesla Powerwall to reduce overall demand during monthly and annual peak demand hours. These savings apply to all customers. In recent years, the fleet has reduced annual peak costs by $3 million.
© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.