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Green Mountain Power Now Leasing and Selling Tesla's Powerwall

Words by Leon Kaye

If you haven't invested in real estate within the Reno, Nevada, region, you should if you have the spare cash. The Tesla Battery Plant is under construction in Reno, and while there are some concerns over the tax credits Tesla was promised, business is booming in northern Nevada. The economic ripples, despite the debate in Nevada, are also reaching the East Coast.

Last week, Green Mountain Power, the B-Corp utility that services 75 percent of Vermont, has started offering Tesla’s Powerwall batteries to its customers. The first utility in the country to offer such a product, Green Mountain Power claims scoring the Powerwall will help its customers become more energy independent while reducing strain on the local grid during peak hours.

For homeowners who have solar panels on their rooftops, the promise of the Powerwall is that they can rely even less on the local grid. But for other customers who are still relying on conventional power, this energy storage package will allow them to use their lights, refrigerator or furnace in the event of a blackout. Green Mountain Power has promised that it will work with those who purchase the Powerwall to use these battery storage systems effectively, so that they can keep electricity costs down while reducing energy consumption during those times of peak demand.

Green Mountain Power customers have three options if they are interested in purchasing one of the 500 Powerwall batteries the utility has procured. First, consumers can lease the battery without any upfront costs, at a rate of $37.50 a month, which breaks down to $1.25 a day. Another option is to pay for the system upfront at $6,500 with shared access from the utility, which would grant the customer a rebate of $31.76 a month, or a payback period of 17 years and two months. The final option is to purchase the battery storage system outright without any agreement from Green Mountain Power.

Green Mountain Power expects to receive the first shipment from Tesla in 2016, and will first run the program as a pilot with some customers in the town of Rutland. Later in the year, the Powerwall will be available to all of its customers in Vermont.

For now, the biggest benefit to consumers buying the Powerwall will be for backup power — especially for rural residents where a power outage could mean a long wait until someone can repair those downed power lines. And even if all of those 500 battery storage systems are reserved quickly, that is still a tiny sliver of the 265,000 residential and business customers in tiny Vermont. Nevertheless, the Green Mountain Power program sends a signal to utilities that their business model has got to change — and new clean technologies can even offer these companies new revenue streams in the long run.

Image credit: Green Mountain Power

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

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