If paired with solar panels, the Powerwall automatically starts charging when the sun comes up and then stores energy for conditions when solar energy cannot be produced. It also buys renewable energy from the grid, using smart technology to purchase energy at the times when it is cheapest.
Producing clean energy will now be more profitable for customers signed up with Tesla Electric. Under the new program, excess solar energy stored in the Powerwall is sold back to the grid, earning customers a deduction on their energy bill.
Tesla also tracks energy prices to help sell their customers’ excess energy when prices are high, maximizing the potential value of generating clean energy from home.
The system sends solar power back to the grid using the U.S.’s Net Energy Metering program, where utility providers buy renewable energy from their customers in exchange for credits. These credits help pay for any remaining energy costs that solar power hasn’t already offset.
Tesla says that Tesla Electric customers will help transition other households to clean energy by increasing the share of sustainable sources that the grid draws from.
In Texas, where Tesla Electric is launching, roughly 30% of power distributed by the grid currently comes from renewable sources.
At the moment, Tesla Electric is available on an invite-only basis for Powerwall owners in Texas. But the company’s stated goal is to become a “global distributed clean electric utility,” so it is likely that Tesla Electric will be rolled out widely if the Texas pilot is successful.
“It is easy to underestimate how revolutionary this is and will be. Especially when integrated with an electric car (+ charger), solar panels, and a residential battery,” Tesla’s Director of Finance, Sendil Palani, said in a tweet.
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