Imagine an efficient electricity system where if the electricity is expensive to generate you pay more, and if it is cheap then you pay lesser. This system would persuade ratepayers to conserve when the grid would be constrained and switch to using power when it’s clean and cheap, allowing savings on emissions and grid costs in the process.
Currently, the default electricity rates are quite inefficient in California, with increasing charges that are based on the energy one uses within a billing period.
In this context of inefficiency, starting 2019 California would be reportedly moving towards time-varying rates as the default. As opposed to the real-time rates, the time-varying rates (time-of-use rates) would have peak prices when electricity is expensive and in demand, and cheaper rates in off-peak hours. This would be a good way to also blend the intermittent renewables. So, a grid flush with solar power somewhere around mid-day would encourage ratepayers to use the electricity at that time, and avoid the usage later when the renewables would be scarcer.
Meanwhile, Tesla app is offering an update that would allow its clients to optimise based on rates. The time-based controls update by Tesla, allows the customers to choose to store energy only for backup power, which allows maximising the amount of energy that gets generated by a rooftop solar system. The other time-based controls charging strategies include self-power, balanced time-based, and cost-saving time-based. After the sun goes down, the cost savings strategy is said to maximise consumer savings by using stored low-cost energy to power homes. And, when electricity prices are at its peak, the balanced time-based strategy is said to be used to power homes when electricity is expensive.
Homeowners with rooftop solar systems, in the near future, would want batteries to harness the cheap and clean power and offset the more expensive power later. And, with the new Tesla app which automates the process, it would be easy for clients to do this.