Tesla has launched a new program that will allow Powerwall owners to return electricity to the grid during heavy use. Tesla’s “virtual powerhouse” is now entering a beta phase, allowing customers to sign up, albeit for now without any compensation.
When the company first announced the program last week, Tesla noted that “California’s grid operator predicts Californians will continue to need grid support through 2021.” This could be a gross understatement as the grid is expected to be heavily loaded during the rest of the summer due to record high temperatures driving up demand, as well as severe drought that could reduce hydropower output.
Registration is now open to “PG&E, SDG & E and SCE customers who own Powerwall and solar panels,” Tesla said in a statement. “Registration requires Tesla app 3.10.14 and new version of Powerwall firmware, which will be released soon. “
So how is this going to work? Tesla gave an example showing that the application will give you a push notification a few hours before any network voltage events. It will also show the time period over which the event will affect Powerwall usage, as shown above.
“Depending on the predicted severity of the event, your Powerwall may prioritize pre-event charging from your solar system to help switch your home’s grid usage earlier in the day,” Tesla explained. “If the Powerwall is fully charged prior to the event, your solar system will re-energize your home and export all excess energy to the grid.”
Tesla noted that customers will not be compensated for contributions to the Virtual Power Plant, although it encouraged users to join in what it called a “public good.” However, customers already participating in net metering programs will be compensated for any capacity returned to the grid as usual. Electrek noted.
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