Tesla has launched a new program that will allow Powerwall owners to restore energy to the grid during times of heavy use. “Tesla’s virtual power plant” is now entering the beta phase, allowing customers to sign up, albeit without any compensation for now.
When he first announced the program last week, Tesla noted that “the California network operator predicts a continuing need for Californians to support the network by 2021.” This could be a major understatement, as the grid is expected to be under great stress during the rest of the summer due to record high temperatures that are increasing demand, along with a severe drought that could reduce hydropower production.
Enrollment is now open to “PG&E, SDG & E and SCE customers who own Powerwall and solar power,” Tesla said in a news release. “Required for enrollment Tesla application 3.10.14 and a new version of Powerwall firmware that will be released soon. “
So how will it work? Tesla gave an example that shows that the app will give you a push notification alert a few hours before any stressful events on the network. It will also show the time period that the event will affect your use of Powerwall, as shown above.
“Depending on the predicted severity of the event, your Powerwall may prioritize charging from your solar system before the event to help transfer your home network to earlier in the day,” Tesla explained. “If the Powerwall is fully charged before the event, your solar system will continue to power your home and discharge any excess energy into the grid.”
Tesla noted that customers would not receive a fee for contributing to the Virtual Power Plant, although it encouraged users to join for what it called a “public good”. However, customers who are already involved in net metering programs will be reimbursed for all power returned to the network as usual, Electric recorded.
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