Battery Storage Keeps the Lights on During Major Storm
The rainstorm that rocked Vermont on Halloween last Thursday knocked out power for 115,000 people—more than one-sixth of the state’s population!
For the 1100 folks with a Tesla Powerwall, however, stored energy kept their appliances running and lights lit during the blackout. For a time, these homes were electricity islands.
Thanks to incentives and in-state utility programs, energy storage is accessible to more Vermonters than ever. Large batteries like the Powerwall allow people to store energy to use later, so that when big storms hit they can keep all the essentials running seamlessly.
“When I heard about the storm coming, I started saving some of my solar power to the batteries in the Powerwall.”
—Laura Cameron (solar since 2018)
Powerwall means you don’t need to schlep out to the garage to turn on the generator when the weather disconnects you from the grid. The battery, sensing an interruption, automatically starts filling in. Until the utility turns the power back on, you’re essentially running on your own personal microgrid!
“[My partner and I] are both in our sixties. We can’t go haul water from the brook, and a generator is getting harder to use. That’s why we got the Powerwall.
We’ve had seven short power outages since installation and we don’t even know it when it’s happening because the Powerwall just kicks in. It’s so seamless!”
—Mary Anne Gummere (solar since 2018)
Batteries mean greener power for all
During sweltering summer days, when the entire region is cranking the AC, electricity prices soar. Utilities need to buy power from expensive and dirty “peaker plants,” power plants that get turned on to meet extraordinary electricity demand.
On the hottest day of 2019, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power saved $900,000 in a single hour by abstaining from that power, drawing it instead from the hundreds of Powerwalls enrolled in its distributed energy storage program. That means lower electricity prices for everybody, fewer fossil fuels burned, and less stress on the connecting wires.
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Tae Wills, our in-house Powerwall expert, weighs in on energy storage
What are the benefits of adding storage to solar?
The benefits are unquestionable. Having solar coupled with storage adds so many capabilities. One of the main features is that solar coupled with storage will keep the solar on in the event of a power outage, prolonging the life of the battery. It still makes me kinda giddy when we do an “off grid” test post-install and see solar powering a home, charging the battery, and the battery isn’t even having to discharge. Literally running your home off of energy from the sun. It seems so futuristic, and it amazes me.
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