GMP offers upfront incentives for home energy storage

HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) Tuesday morning the final touches were finished on a Tesla Powerwall installation in Carole McCay's Hinesburg home.

"It gives me some peace of mind," McCay said. "I can't imagine wrestling with a generator."

Her solar panels will charge up her battery and keep her home running during power outages. She hasn't paid an electric bill in the three years since SunCommon installed her panels.

"It feels good to just erase that electric bill every month. Just delete it from the email," McCay said.

Now, she will also be helping to lower costs for other customers by allowing Green Mountain Power to tap this battery's storage when electricity needs spike. It's cheaper for the utility than buying power off the grid. Renewable energy companies touted her home as a sign of what's to come.

"This is what the future looks like," said Tom Berry of SunCommon. "You have solar on the roof, battery in the home."

But most people don't have thousands of dollars to drop on a home battery, which is why GMP is now fronting some of the green to encourage more customers to go green.

"We are obsessed with combatting climate change," said Mary Powell of GMP.

Their new "Bring Your Own Device" program offers the largest upfront incentive in the country to GMP customers who share access to their home batteries. How much each home gets varies depending on how many kilowatts of energy storage they have and where they are, but GMP says the average homeowner can get about $4,000 from the utility. It's what sweetened the deal for McCay.

"It just seemed like a win-win for me," McCay said.

A win-win for her that the utility hopes to eventually be able to offer to everyone. But they can't yet. It is not an unlimited program right now. For this pilot, they can accept about 600 customers.

As we mentioned, home savings amount will be different. Electric vehicle chargers are also eligible, too.

Click here to learn more about GMP's BYOD program.

Click here for GMP's solar map showing where battery storage is needed most (shown in orange and red).