Solar owners can now store power with Tesla battery

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The Tesla Powerwall battery stores solar energy for home-based backup in the case of an outage. (Courtesy photo)

The Tesla Powerwall battery stores solar energy for home-based backup in the case of an outage. (Courtesy photo)

Green Mountain Power, Tesla and SunCommon have added a new benefit for homeowners who install solar power arrays.

Under a partnership announced last week, home-based solar arrays will not only power a home and supply energy to the GMP system for net-metering credit, they will also provide individual power backup for homeowners to use in case of an outage.

Tesla, a California company best known for electric cars, released its Powerwall battery earlier this year. The battery can be placed on the wall of a home to store solar energy, providing ever-ready backup power.

GMP of Colchester and SunCommon, a Waterbury solar power company, launched the program this month with no up-front costs and a fixed monthly lease payment on the battery of roughly $37 per month, according to a press release.

“Together we will empower our customers to control their energy use, keep costs low and increase reliability all year long,” GMP president and CEO Mary Powell said in the press release. “Leveraging the latest innovations like battery storage, we are working with customers to move away from the antiquated bulk grid, to a cleaner and more reliable energy system, where power is generated closer to where it’s used.”

According to SunCommon spokeswoman Emily McManamy, the company has installed 53 home-based solar arrays in Colchester. Existing arrays are eligible for the Tesla battery, but the program is aimed at new converts.

“We encourage folks to install the battery and solar array at the same time,” McManamy said.

The sleek, white battery is usually installed in a basement.

“By charging a home storage unit with solar power, homes can become self-sufficient during outages — keeping the internet connected, phones charged and the fridge chilled,” said James Moore, co-president of SunCommon. “GMP’s forward-thinking recognizes the huge value of local storage to our grid; adding storage will mean a smarter, more reliable grid, ready to host more renewable energy as we build it.”