Tesla’s energy storage batteries are generally used in homes for saving money and helping the environment. But now, The Irvine Company plans to use the batteries in office buildings in California to reduce electricity demand at peak hours and give up to 10 megawatts of reserve power to Southern California Edison in the initial phase of a new project.
Good for grids and building owners
On Monday, the developer of The Irvine Company and the startup Advanced Microgrid Solutions announced plans to build large battery farms. Each battery farm will be the size of about five parking spaces, and the reserve power will have the capacity to light up 10,000 homes.
The grid could be made more stable if the utilities make use of batteries. The use of batteries will also prevent the need to construct expensive and dirty power plants that are operated only at peak times. Utilities in California are required to collectively install over a gigawatt of energy storage by 2020. A gigawatt of energy is equivalent to a large nuclear or natural gas plant.
For building owners interested in buying batteries, it will be very helpful. They can use it when electricity rates from the power grid go high. If building owners decide to switch to battery power periodically, then they will be able to lower their monthly energy bills also.
Big potential for Tesla
In the initial phase, up to 24 buildings at Irvine will get the upgrade with more coverage going forward. The startup will use its software skills to put the buildings on battery power when there is a huge load on the power grid, like during hot summer afternoons, thus relieving part of the stress on the power grid during peak times. The companies said peak electricity demand on the power grid will fall 25% with the usage of Tesla batteries.
Tesla has struck just one deal in California, which already has players like Bloom Energy that can give Tesla a tough fight ahead. Tesla could play an important role in modernizing California’s power grid and hastening the shift of the state to clean energy sources. Switching to green tech and making better use of batteries will become easier for building owners if it becomes possible for them to store the energy not utilized immediately, and this is where the EV firm could help.