Tesla’s residential Powerwall and commercial Powerpack battery storage units are becoming invaluable for residents in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The batteries are a key part of the ongoing Intelligent Feeder Project, a partnership between the Nova Scotia power and Opus One Solutions through a grant from the Sustainable Development Technology in Canada. The program is a test to determine the viability of battery storage units as a potential backup for Nova Scotia’s energy grid, both in the micro and macro level.
For the micro level, ten Elmsdale homes that are part of a microgrid had Tesla Powerwall 2 units installed. At the macro level, Tesla Powerpacks were deployed at the Elmsdale substation are storing energy generated by wind turbines located at Hardwood Lands, NS. The commercial batteries are expected to be a good fit for the region’s grid, as 19% of Nova Scotia’s electricity is already being produced from wind turbines.
Nova Scotia Power project manager Jill Searle highlighted the potential of the initiative in a statement to Truro Daily. “We wanted to see if we could use batteries, not just in customers’ homes, but also to see if they could provide reliability with wind integration for a whole distribution circuit,” she said.
An opportunity for the Tesla batteries to prove their value emerged on January 4, 2019, when the region was faced with a 5-hour power outage during the height of a snowstorm. Apart from seeing uninterrupted power, several homeowners with the Powerwall 2 also observed that their batteries still had over 85% by the time power came back on. Elmsdale residents Mac and Anne Noble, whose home was fitted with a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery, shared their experiences during power outages.
“When the power goes out, it’s completely instantaneous. The (desktop) computer I have over there, it didn’t even flicker when it went out,” Mac Noble said.
For the senior program manager, Tesla’s batteries are showing signs that they can perform very well. “This project, for us and for me personally, has been fantastic. We’ve had a lot of industry interest in this because a lot of jurisdictions are talking about storage as a utility asset, but not many are actually doing it. We’re one of the few who are. We are leading edge on some of this work, which is really exciting,” she said.
The pilot program for the Intelligent Feeder Project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019. The Powerwalls and Powerpacks used in the program are expected to remain deployed even after the pilot program ends.
Tesla’s Energy business is growing at a rapid rate, with the company deploying 1.04 GWh of energy storage over 2018. Production of Powerwall and Powerpack modules at Gigafactory 1 are also getting expedited thanks to a new manufacturing line from Tesla Grohmann. Tesla ultimately aims to more than double its energy storage deployments to over 2 GWh in 2019.