A $3.2 million pilot project, the first of its kind in Canada, was established in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia to introduce renewable energy battery storage systems to 10 homes. This could eventually change how Nova Scotians and Canadians power their homes
The project, which is a joint effort of Nova Scotia Power, Tesla and Ontario energy company Opus One Solutions, was launched in 2017. A grid-size battery was installed at Elmsdale's substation and 10 Tesla powerwalls were installed in nearby homes.
"Our goal is to study if customers enjoy the reliability that the batteries provide. That all the cases we are testing are successful and the batteries can do what we want them to do," said Jill Searle, the smart grid program manager for Nova Scotia Power. "The next question is where would we deploy them, so it's effective for the grid and effective for customers."
Wind energy powers the Tesla power pack at the substation, which sends energy to be stored in the powerwalls of the 10 homes. The grid could power up to 300 homes, but only 10 are being tested as lithium ion is expensive.
Searle said, “Testing the system is just the first step in trying to harness and store wind energy, and eventually, solar power. Being able to take that energy stored in the battery until a time that our customers need it, that's a benefit to us and for customers as well.
We have been encouraged by the pilot study and hope more testing will be done to make renewable energy more affordable and available to more people.”
Mark Candow, one of the homeowners selected for the pilot, remarked, "From my standpoint, it is essentially a quiet generator. The power goes out [and] I get a text from Tesla saying the power is out, but I don't realize it because my power is still on. During Hurrican Dorian the powerwall gave me 19 hours of electricty when my power went out.”
The powerwalls serve as sources of extra power during outages but could one day serve as a way to power homes through solar panels connected to the home.
Searle said the next step is to do more analysis on the cost of lithium-ion batteries.
"We want to make sure we're making decisions that are good for customers, so we're going to watch the price of that and potentially deploy batteries at other locations in the future," she said.
I guess the individuals involved in this pilot project will be waiting eagerly for September 22, 2020 as Teslas just announced its offical schedule for Battery Day. This live event will reveal significant advances in battery and battery production technolog from Tesla and its partners, specifically cost and durability.