Last week, the Vermont Public Utility Commission made a significant decision to lift the enrollment cap for the Tesla Powerwall home battery backup system. This move was in response to a request from Green Mountain Power (GMP), following a series of severe storms that highlighted the need for reliable backup power. The decision to remove the cap reflects the increasing demand for home batteries in light of climate change and extreme weather events.
Green Mountain Power aims to enhance storm resiliency and ensure reliable power supply to its customers, particularly after the challenges faced this year. Mari McClure, the President and CEO of GMP, expressed her satisfaction with the decision, emphasizing that expanding access to programs like the Powerwall will help keep customers powered up during tough conditions.
Previously, the Powerwall program and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program had an annual cap of 500 customers since 2020. However, due to high demand, the waitlist for the Powerwall program has now reached 1,200 customers, extending into 2026. The recent historic flooding in Vermont prompted an additional 300 customers to join the waitlist this summer, highlighting the urgent need for reliable backup power systems.
Green Mountain Power offers two options for customers to obtain Powerwall batteries. They can either pay $55 per month for 10 years or make a one-time payment of $5,500, saving $1,100 compared to the monthly lease option. Tesla covers the standard installation costs, making it more accessible for customers.
In addition to the Powerwall program, GMP also offers the Bring Your Own Device option, allowing customers to purchase and install one of six other brands of storage batteries. These brands include Emporia, Enphase, Generac PWRcell, Solar Edge, and Sonnen. While customers are responsible for the upfront costs of these batteries, GMP provides a rebate of up to $10,500 based on the amount of power shared during peak demand. This incentivizes customers to participate in the program and contribute to the overall grid stability.
By utilizing a network of stored energy from both Powerwall and BYOD batteries, GMP can access up to 50 megawatts of power when needed. This approach allows the utility to save up to $3 million per year by operating a virtual power plant. It not only benefits customers by providing reliable backup power but also contributes to a more resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure.
Among the two programs, the Tesla Powerwall has been the more popular choice, with installations in the homes of 2,600 customers compared to 313 customers who opted for the BYOD program. This popularity can be attributed to the reputation and reliability of Tesla’s products in the energy storage market.
The decision to lift the enrollment cap for the Tesla Powerwall in Vermont demonstrates the growing recognition of the importance of home battery backup systems. As climate change leads to more frequent and severe weather events, ensuring access to reliable power becomes crucial. By expanding access to programs like the Powerwall, Vermont is taking proactive steps towards a more resilient and sustainable energy future.
– Green Mountain Power
– Vermont Public Utility Commission
– Dan D’Ambrosio at Gannett.com