It appears that Tesla’s first Virtual Power Plant beta event in California was a resounding success. As per reports from homeowners who participated in the program, thousands of houses equipped with Tesla Powerwalls were able to help keep the grid stable.
Tesla has been laying the foundations of a Virtual Power Plant in California for some time now. Last year, the company started a pilot program that gave homeowners with Powerwall batteries the option to join the VPP. Tesla eventually improved the program by offering homeowners monetary compensation for allowing their Powerwall batteries to be used to help the grid if needed.
Tesla’s current program, which recently expanded to Southern California Edison (SCE) homeowners, offered a $2 per kWh compensation for those who choose to participate in the VPP. Tesla noted that homeowners would likely receive about $10 to about $60 for every event. One such instance happened recently, with Tesla notifying the participants of the CA VPP if they would like to participate in the Virtual Power Plant beta event.
Reports from Tesla Powerwall owners across California were extremely positive. Screenshots from PG&E Tesla Powerwall owners showed that about 2,342 homeowners took part in the Virtual Power Plant beta event, pushing about 16.5 MW of power back to the grid. Meanwhile, Powerwall owners in the SCE grid hinted that about 268 homes participated in the test, pushing 1.5 MW of power to the grid.
Between the Powerwall owners on the PG&E and the SCE networks, it seems that a total of about 2,600 homes participated in the test, pushing about 18 MW of power to the grid. That’s a pretty encouraging result, especially considering that Tesla is looking to expand its VPP program to accommodate far more homes in the near future.
The concept of a Virtual Power Plant is quite simple, though creating a viable distributed power plant is easier said than done. Considering how successful Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant test was, however, it would not be surprising if the company’s VPP project gets more participants in its next events. After all, Elon Musk has stated multiple times in the past that he believes Tesla Energy would be bigger than the company’s automotive business. A rapidly expanding VPP could be just the breakthrough that Tesla Energy needs to go mainstream.
Check out Lastbulb’s Tesla Virtual Power Plant tracker below.
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