- Tesla said California owners of Powerwall could sign up for its “virtual power plant” beta.
- Participants will feed the electricity produced by the solar systems in their homes back into the grid.
- Tesla said he would not make any money from the project. It is designed to avoid blackouts in high demand.
- See more stories on the Insider business page.
Tesla will let California owners of its Powerwall battery feed electricity back into the grid during times of high energy demand to avoid blackouts in the state.
You’re here announced his plan to create a “virtual power plant” last week, and on Thursday launched a support page for the beta test explaining to Californians how it would work and where they can register.
According to Tesla, attendees who register will receive a push notification on their phone a few hours before a period of high demand. They will receive another notification at the start, but will not have to do anything.
Tesla said it launched the program because it anticipated “potential network emergencies.”
Intense heat waves threatened the stability of power grids in the western United States this summer, and in June, California Governor Gavin Newsom said a statewide emergency. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the California grid operator is asking generators to sell more electricity to the state in an attempt to avoid potential blackouts.
Tesla says he’s not making any money from the program. “Upon launch, the Tesla Virtual Power Plant is a public benefit program to support the California grid, and there is no compensation for Tesla or customers,” the company said, although it added that customers being paid for their energy was a “possibility in the future.”
To be eligible for the program, Powerwall owners must be PG&E, SDG & E, or SCE utility customers.
Tesla has already launched a virtual power plant system in Australia. The Australian project was announced in 2018, with the stated objective of involving 50,000 households within four years. In September 2020, Tesla said nearly 4,000 homes with Powerwalls were plugged into the grid.
Tesla announced in April that it exclusively sells solar systems with its Powerwall battery. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a July 13 court appearance that the company was struggling to meet Powerwall demand due to the global shortage of chips.