Tesla is conquering the European market with its Tesla Energy division. In the UK, Tesla has taken steps to become an electricity supplier. This should indicate a more rapid development of the storage solutions currently offered by Tesla. Indeed, the optimized electricity production thanks to the software would allow private individuals and companies to commercialize surplus energy.
Software designed to regulate these operations
Tesla has developed software called Autobidder. This software allows users of storage systems (Powerwall, Powerpack and photovoltaic installation) to market energy and make money from the energy produced from their own needs.
It is the keystone of a project evoked by Elon Musk as a future “giant electricity distributor”. However, when we know the energy performance of his home or business, it is difficult to imagine a lucrative business, and even less so on a large scale when each customer remains the owner of his installation .
What if Tesla Energy’s ambition was there?
The target vision can only be achieved if a massive deployment of storage infrastructure occurs. Either a large number of customers see a benefit in a short period of time, or Tesla offers a free installation in exchange for a shared margin with the firm. We believe that the truth lies in a hybrid model: Low installation cost + Low margin given to Tesla when operating with this software.
This vision will only be possible if a unified network emerges, and we don’t see many other ways to date.
What will the Autobidder software do?
Here is a list of unveiled and expected features:
- Predictive maintenance: Real-time monitoring of plant operation
- Unify the installations: Set up a single dashboard between the different energy sources.
- Network optimization: Real-time forecasting of generation, network load and dispatching.
- Transactions: Manage auctions for resale by following the price of electricity.
Full-scale tests carried out on the facility offered to Australia in 2017
At the request of the Australian government, Tesla agreed to install a 100 megawatt PowerPack network as part of the “Tesla virtual power plant” programme (SAVPP = South Australia Virtual Power Plant) in November 2017.
This installation is already running on this software and the initial tests were so positive that Tesla wanted to apply for this license in the UK.
What the system resells is not only storage to provide electricity during peak demand, but more importantly, to over-inject electricity very quickly when the frequency of the grid drops due to unexpected demand.
It can also absorb excess power when the frequency of the network increases following the shutdown of a large consumer. This frequency stabilization does not require a lot of kWh of storage, but requires a very short response time. Tesla managing all live powerwalls over the internet can have a response time of around 500 milliseconds or even less. This frequency stabilization service is worth much more than just storage.
This service is currently the main source of revenue for gas turbine power plants. However, gas turbine plants have response times of 10 to 30 seconds and are therefore completely out of date when a system such as the Tesla Virtual Power Plant comes on the market. The consumer benefit is provided in the form of a shared investment by Tesla, making the purchase and use of the battery more cost-effective. Tesla pays for this by charging for its grid stabilization service.
Last October, Tesla had already affirmed its ambition on the Tesla Energy branch, but this subject is not broad enough to be discussed in detail. However, Elon Musk did say in October 2019 that Tesla Energy could be the same size as the automotive branch. We will not fail to keep you informed on the subject which was raised very early in the development strategy of the firm.