The Vermont Public Utility Commission just uncapped Green Mountain Power’s Tesla Powerwall lease program, making it now available to 270,000+ customers.
Green Mountain Power (GMP) is the largest electric utility in Vermont, and it launched its home battery pilot programs in 2015, becoming the first utility in the US to partner with Tesla.
Its Powerwall and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) home battery programs have long waiting lists due to their popularity – and enrollment caps. Both the Powerwall and BYOD programs have been capped at 500 customers since 2020. That’s 5 megawatts (MW) of energy storage, per program, per year.
The waitlist for the Powerwall program is now 1,200 customers long, and it’s full into 2026. About 300 more customers joined the waitlist this summer after the state suffered historic flooding.
So GMP filed a request to lift the enrollment caps on its home battery programs in April. Yesterday, the PUC agreed, citing growing customer demand for home batteries, the likelihood of more extreme weather in the future, and the benefit of the home battery programs to all GMP customers.
So that means that there’s no longer an annual limit on customers who can enroll, so people are going to get signed up and online a lot faster.
How it works
In the Powerwall program, GMP customers in Vermont lease two Tesla Powerwall batteries from GMP for $55 per month, or $5,500 in advance. In the BYOD program, customers buy their own battery from a local installer, and they can receive an incentive of up to $10,500 from GMP, depending on how much stored energy they agree to share during peaks.
Leasing battery storage from GMP makes battery storage affordable because customers share their stored energy with their utility during peak times, reducing costs and carbon emissions for all customers. Homeowners get battery backup (and more peace of mind), knowing that they can keep the electricity on (and often the water, too, for houses with wells) during outages.
Around 2,900 GMP customers currently have more than 4,800 batteries in their homes. In 2021, GMP customers saved more than $3 million, and one push in 2022 saved nearly $1.5 million. (Disclosure: I’m joining this program in September.)
The Vermont utility is also undergrounding lines and using storm-hardening line construction techniques to keep communities powered up by preventing outages before they happen.
Photo: Green Mountain Power
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