Tesla looks to energy storage aggregation

Tesla and GreenMountain Power are introducing a programme to deliver and aggregate energy storage.
Published: Fri 19 May 2017

Tesla has taken its next step into the energy storage market with a project to aggregate energy storage to provide services to the grid.

The project is being launched with Vermont utility Green Mountain Power, and will aggregate utility scale and residential storage into a single resource. The aim is to enable more renewable energy and increase grid efficiency.

The project will utilise Tesla’s Powerpack and Powerwall batteries and its GridLogic software platform.

It is innovative on several fronts. One of these is the aggregation potential. The second is that participating homeowners are effectively supporting the utility in its storage goals, and are able to purchase the storage batteries for only $15/month or a $1,300 one-time payment – a substantial discount on Tesla’s standard $6,200 price.

Storage for Green Mountain Power

To introduce the project, Green Mountain Power will install Powerpacks on its utility land and deploy up to 2,000 Powerwall batteries to homeowners.

The Powerwall customers will benefit from backup power over the next 10 years as well as receive compensation for its use on the grid.

The aggregated storage will provide a variety of grid services, delivering dynamic capacity and additional grid stability, while lowering costs for all utility customers through reduction of transmission and capacity costs, especially during peak energy times like hot summer days.

Tesla will also work with Green Mountain Power to dispatch the aggregated resource into New England’s wholesale electricity markets, producing additional savings for customers in the region.

The impact of the project is expected to be significant. Green Mountain Power estimates a reduction of up to 10MW of peak load – equivalent of taking an average of 7,500 homes off the grid. When paired with solar, the programme also allows customers to generate and store their own energy and power their homes during outages.

According to Green Mountain Power, the average outage length in Vermont is 2 hours – well within the 8-12 hours that a fully charged Powerwall can power the average home.

Tesla global ambitions

Like its electric vehicles and batteries, Tesla has global ambitions for its aggregation and grid services.

According to a Tesla blog post, the Green Mountain Power programme is just the beginning. “Tesla is working with energy retailers, grid operators, utilities and aggregators across the globe to unlock the ability for Tesla batteries to deliver grid services while providing reliable power at all times of day.

“As the deployment of Tesla batteries continues to accelerate, we can scale the adoption of renewable energy, cost-effectively modernize our aging infrastructure, and improve the resilience of our electric grid to benefit everyone.”

Solar roof coming

While Tesla has been working on its storage activities the company also has been busy advancing its solar roof offering.

At the launch, CEO Elon Musk promised the solar roof would be cheaper than a standard roof and this now appears to be upheld.

In the latest update on the product, Tesla reports that the typical US homeowner with an average size property can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for the solar roof when the electricity generation potential is taken into account. This compares with $24.50 per square foot for a regular roof, although of course the initial cost of the solar roof is much higher.

The solar roof is being made available in a variety of designs of which two should become available in the US in the third quarter of this year and the other two early in 2018. Installations outside the US are also expected to begin in 2018.

Made with tempered glass, the solar roof tiles are claimed to be more than three times stronger than standard roofing tiles, but half the weight.

Further, they should not degrade over time like asphalt or concrete. They will come with a lifetime of the house, or infinity, warranty, whichever comes first.

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