Currently, the program relies on volunteers, but the company says it might pay future participants. Here’s how the program works and how you can participate.
What is the Tesla Virtual Power Plant?
Enrollment into the program is open for SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E customers that have installed a solar system and Powerwall. In a news release, Tesla said anyone who would like to sign up needs a soon-to-be-released Powerwall firmware version and the Tesla app 3.10.14.
According to Tesla, there are over 50,000 customers with Powerwalls in California. The extra capacity from these Powerwalls can help stabilize the grid and maintain backup energy for any blackouts.
How can you contribute to the VPP?
Everyone who signs up for the program will receive a push notification alert through the Tesla app a few hours prior to a VPP event. Most events will occur during typical peak hours for energy use. The notification will show the exact time of the event and when it will start drawing power from your Powerwall.
Tesla guarantees that you can regulate the amount of power you contribute to the grid even during the event. Doing so will give you an energy reserve in your Powerwall, which will provide backup power in case of an emergency.
Depending on the projected severity of stress to the grid, your Powerwall can prioritize charging from your solar system before the event starts. If the Powerwall charges to maximum capacity, the solar panel will resume providing energy to your home and export all extra power to the grid.
Can you opt out of the program?
Tesla says that you can opt out of the program at any time. To do this, tap the Tesla Virtual Power Plant switch off. The company also promises more control options as the program continues to evolve.
Tesla is making an effort to help the struggling energy grid of California. The plan will launch in beta through 2021, but it might change and expand to other states in the future. It will help the state's grid remain clean by providing sustainable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Participants may receive compensation in the future as the program progresses.