Vermont’s Green Mountain Power (GMP) utility has become the first to offer its customers an energy storage solution, namely Tesla’s Powerwall.
While installations have begun now in May of 2016, GMP originally made the initial arrangements to purchase 500 Powerwalls from Tesla in December of 2015. More units are expected to be ordered due to positive customer demand in excess of the original 500 units.
The energy storage units are available through three different options; in the first arrangement the customer completely owns the system, the second option involves ownership but the customer allows the utility to access the Powerwall, and the third option is where the customer leases the system from GMP.
If customers rent the system, they will be charged $37.50/month. There’s no up front cost in this situation. However, if a customer want to purchase the system outright, it’s $6,500 plus installation fees. Tesla advertises the cost of their 7kw battery storage system as being $3,000. A large part of the additional cost associated with the $6,500 system offered by GMP must involve the inverter. It can be assumed that for any Vermonters who have already gone solar and therefore have an inverter, the system offered by GMP will be quite a bit less in cost.
In the two options where GMP has access to the Powerwall, the utility will use the battery’s energy for peak shaving. Peak shaving is basically the term associate with avoiding higher prices electricity during certain parts of the day when there is higher than average demands for power. The Powerwall can store utility energy during the day when it it cheaper. That electricity can then be accessed to avoid the peak electricity rates later in the day.
The customer automatically gains full access to the Powerwall during any loss of power such as may be experienced due to storms, for example. One Powerwall can provide a few hours of electricity for common appliances like refrigerators, lighting, and electronics like TVs and computers.
GMP has been known as a very solar friendly utility. For example, for many years they offered their customers an additional monetary incentive on top of net metering. Mary Powell, CEO of GMP has stated – “This is a game changer that will help fully leverage solar to the benefit of all with cost savings, while empowering Vermonters to generate, store and use energy closer to the home. As Vermont’s energy company of the future, GMP is partnering with customers on an energy transformation that moves away from the 100-year-old grid system, to a new one that is more reliable, sustainable and cost-effective.”
Hopefully other utilities across America are taking note about GMP’s forward-thinking approach towards their customers and where the future of energy is heading. Green Mountain Power has found a way where new, clean technology can benefit them and their customers alike.
The bottom line is that the solar plus storage reality will be commonplace before too long. It’s already started in Vermont.