Tesla is setting up its energy business in Japan. The virtual power plant in Miyakojima, located in Okinawa prefecture, Japan can power more than 300 homes. It is the first commercial use of Powerwall home batteries for a virtual power plant in Japan. Also, it is potentially one of the country’s largest commercial Virtual Power Plants using household storage batteries, once it is completed.
Similar to other VPPs that Tesla has set up, the Powerwall batteries installed in the Miyakojima VPP could provide backup power to the grid when needed. In Miyako Island, for example, the Powerwall batteries help the island stabilize its power. The home batteries also enable residents to have energy in times when power is unavailable, such as when typhoons hit.
— Tesla Japan (@teslajapan) August 27, 2022
Tesla’s video of the Miyakojima virtual power plant showcased several Powerwall owners, some of whom highlighted that the area attracts a substantial number of tourists every year. With this in mind, having an uninterrupted power supply even when grid power goes down is invaluable. “During typhoons, lights are available, refrigerators are usable as usual. What could be better than that?” one Powerwall owner said.
Other Powerwall owners noted that the idea of sharing stored energy with each other as a community is something that is quite noble. Apart from this, the use of home battery units like Powerwalls helps keep the environment safe. With the accelerating use of renewables, some Powerwall users in the area are optimistic that the nature around the island, including the oceans, could be restored.
Tesla Energy is a sleeping giant. Elon Musk said as much in the past when he noted that Tesla Energy could very well be larger than the company’s automotive business. While Tesla Energy still tends to take a backseat to the company’s EV division, it is making a lot of headway. Just recently, for example, about 2,600 homeowners in Tesla’s California VPP helped the state’s grid by providing up to 18 MW of power.
In 2019, it was known that the company has been taking orders online from Japanese customers since 2016, but had not announced when installations would start. According to the earlier information, the 13.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh) Powerwall can store power generated by solar panels and costs 990,000 yen ($9,135). It includes the Backup Gateway system which manages the grid connection, but excluding installation costs and retail tax. So far there have been two major typhoons in Japan in September and October that have resulted in power outages.