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One of the major reasons Telsa Powerwall owners in California have invested in the electricity storage device is to continue to have power even when the grid has failed.
Tesla is however inviting Powerwall owners who are customers of PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE to join a Virtual Powerplant scheme where they would offer their stored energy to support the grid during peak times, in many cases for no compensation at all.
The scheme would export electricity from the Powerwall to the grid up to a set reserve amount and would be centrally managed by Tesla, with owners only getting a notification informing them of upcoming events.
Neither Tesla nor owners will be compensated for this largesse, but this may change in the future once the service is proven.
“As of launch, the Tesla Virtual Power Plant is a public good program to support the California grid, and there is no compensation for Tesla or customers. While customer compensation for this program is a possibility in the future, in the meantime customers are encouraged to participate in the program and mobilize the excess capacity of their Powerwall systems.”
Owners will be compensated as usual for sending power back to the grid if they have an existing agreement.
Tesla posted more details on the mechanics of the service on their support page:
“A few hours prior to an event, you will receive a push notification informing you of event times. Depending on the forecasted severity of the event, your Powerwall may prioritize charging from your solar system in advance of the event to help shift your home’s grid use to earlier in the day. If Powerwall fully charges before an event, your solar system will resume powering your home and export any excess power to the grid.”
“When the event begins, you will receive a push notification reminding you of the event end time, and your Powerwall will begin discharging to support the grid. Your Powerwall will discharge until the event ends, or when it discharges to your selected backup reserve level. No action is required on your part to participate in the event, but you may raise or lower your backup reserve level at any time during the event.”
Telsa is calling the plan a public service, and sufficiently publicly minded Powerwall owners can sign up to the service in the Tesla app in Settings.
Would our readers make their stored electricity available and possibly prevent an outage, or would you hang on to it, so you are in a better position when the power does actually go out? Let us know below.