Tesla Virtual Power Plant Pilot Will Pay Powerwall Owners in California

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Tesla is asking Powerwall owners in California to join the ‘Tesla Virtual Power Plant’, an Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot offered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

Participants joining to support the grid will earn $2/kWh “for every additional kWh your Powerwall delivers during an event.”

Tesla says “addjust your Backup Reserve to set your contribution, while maintaining backup energy for outages.”

The touted benefits of participation into the program include helping to stabilize California’s grid during a severe emergency, and help reduce or avoid blackouts. Tesla also mentions participating will also help clean the grid, as when critical power is needed, the least efficient generators go online.

Powerwall owners would also “unite as a Tesla community” to help form the “largest distributed battery in the world”, with potentially 50,000 Powerwalls at stake.

Requirements to participate? You need to be a PG&E customer, and you can’t be enrolled in a conflicting program which may include another Virtual Power Plant or a demand response program run by PG&E, a Community Choice Aggregator or another program, says Tesla. You also need to have
a valid Rule 21 interconnection agreement.

Tesla gives two examples of how a Powerwall system can get paid in this pilot.

A one-Powerwall system with a Backup Reserve of 20% that is fully charged at the start of an event has 13.5 kWh * (100%-20%) = 10.8 kWh to contribute during that event.

If this system would typically serve 3 kWh of energy during the event hours, fully dispatching the Powerwall down to the Backup Reserve would deliver 7.8 kWh of additional kWh.

At $2 per kWh, this could be worth $15.60 for this event.

In the second example:

A two-Powerwall system with a Backup Reserve of 40% that is fully charged at the start of an event has 2*13.5 kWh * (100%-40%) = 16.2 kWh to contribute during that event.

If this system would typically serve 5 kWh of load during the event hours, fully dispatching the Powerwalls down to the Backup Reserve would deliver 11.2 kWh of additional kWh.

At $2 per kWh, this could be worth $22.40 for this event.

You can click here to learn more about Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant program.

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