Business Model Innovation: Smart Grid & Energy Management


Green Mountain Power for offering its customers Tesla Powerwall 7 kWh batteries for onsite storage of power generated with solar PV or off-peak grid power. During an outage, the battery is "able to power essential parts of the home like lights, a refrigerator, and heat pump" or oil or gas heating system, according to Green Mountain Power.

While the backup power will certainly appeal to many in the cold Vermont winters, green energy advocates are excited about the innovative business model: an investor-owned utility selling its customers an onsite storage option that can make them more independent and let them use more self-generated PV power. This is the kind of distributed residential electricity storage system that will be needed to accommodate large growth of distributed PV power.

Green Mountain Power has ordered 500 Powerwalls and expects to start installation in February 2016. The utility is selling the Powerwalls for $6500 with an option to receive a $32/month bill credit in exchange for giving the utility "shared access" to use the battery to meet local electricity demand. Leasing is available for $1.25 per day.

Green Mountain Power is the investor-owned utility for Vermont, with $506 million in annual revenue through Q2 2015. It is a certified B corporation, committed to "using the power of business to alleviate poverty, address climate changes, and build strong local communities and great places to work."