Virtual Power Plant in California nets Tesla Powerwall owners hundreds of dollars

Tesla launched a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) in California last year where Powerwall owners could opt in and provide energy back to the grid during time of high demand. The energy stored in their Powerwalls was not sent back to the grid for free however, as owners were paid $2 per kWh to do so, resulting in program participants earning hundreds of dollars.

Just how much Powerwall owners earned depended on a number of factors including how many VPP events they participated in, and how much stored energy they allocated for the events, but according to Reddit user Mark (u/mahkus11), who has 3 Powerwalls and a 12.24kW solar system and participated in all 10 events, there was the potential to earn nearly $575 (you can check out his YouTube channel detailing the experience here).

Tesla notified him of the amount in an email this week saying that a cheque was on the way, also thanking him for participating in the California Emergency Load Reduction Program.


Tesla has been operating a VPP in California since 2021, but until last year offered no financial incentives to do so. That change in June when the company partnered with utility provider PG&E, and then further expanded the program later by allowing customers of SCE to also join.

The number of homes signing up for the VPP has increased substantially since the program was launched in June. According to a tracker created by VPP participant and lastbulb creator Rick Davis, there are now nearly 6,000 homes participating in the VPP program. During the 10 events a total of around 577MWh was sent to California’s grid by VPP participants, for an average of 15kWh per home per event, representing 84MWh of potential backup energy per event.

Davis tells Drive Tesla he earned $338.03 after also taking part in 10 events. His amount was lower than Mark’s since he only set the reserve of his two Powerwalls at around 30% to ensure he had enough stored energy to power his own house through the night.

Tesla is also operating a VPP in Japan, and late last year was approved for a similar program in Texas.

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