Vermont Utility to Offer Tesla Home Batteries

Powerwall battery was announced Thursday night

Tesla's zippy electric battery powered roadsters have revolutionized the automobile - and now Tesla's targeting the home, unveiling a new giant battery it calls the Powerwall.

It's designed to store enough electricity - potentially from solar or wind - that it can power your home 24 hours a day. Vermont's Green Mountain Power, the state’s biggest utility, will be New England's first utility offering them, starting in October for about $4,000 per unit, with financing available.

Green Mountain Power, headquartered in Colchester, Vermont, told New England Cable News it will start receiving Powerwalls in a few months, and plans to display one in its Energy Innovation Center in Rutland. It isn't just a way to take intermittently available solar- or wind-generated power and store it as a reliable round-the-clock power source, but also a backup power source during blackouts.

"For a consumer, it can act as an emergency generator, essentially," GMP's renewable innovation director, Josh Castonguay, told necn. "Same concept. Grid goes down, you can power your house from this device."

On the hottest, sunniest days of summer when demand for power for air conditioners and refrigerators soars - and prices soar too – widespread use of the Tesla Powerwall could also help tamp down price spikes.

"GMP can utilize this device at peak times, when the sun's cranking, it's the hottest day of the year, and we're drawing a ton of power from the grid. We can utilize these to help lower that peak time, which ultimately reduces costs for everybody," said Castonguay.

Castonguay said GMP is now working to figure out ways to help consumers buy the home batteries, such as through on-bill financing.

The Powerwall is about three feet wide and four feet tall and seven inches thick, comparable to a wall-mounted high-end television set turned 90 degrees.

Announcing the technology in California Thursday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the same technological advances that have shrunk high-capacity rechargeable batteries down to a size they can fit in cars can now eliminate the need for electric lines criss-crossing the landscape.

"People in a remote village or an island somewhere where it can take solar panels [can] combine with the Tesla Powerwall and never have to worry about having electricity lines," Musk said.

With videographer Kika Bronger and video editor Abbas T. Sadek

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