Owners of Tesla solar panels and Powerwall batteries in Texas have managed to avoid the worst of the recent power outages in the state thanks to their self-sufficient energy storage system, however electric car owners have seen the cost of charging their vehicles sky rocket.
A state-wide blackout resulting from a huge winter storm left millions of people without power across the southern United States.
Temperatures as low as -18C in Texas overwhelmed the power grid, causing President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency.
Posts on social media revealed that some houses managed to avoid the power outages due to being equipped with Tesla-built technology that allows energy to be saved and stored even if the power grid fails.
“Only house in my whole neighbourhood with power,” tweeted self-proclaimed Tesla evangelist Christian Garza. “All because of Tesla solar and Powerwalls.”
The state’s power grid manager, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), saw spot electricity prices in Texas’ West hub briefly spike above $9,000 per megawatt-hour due to the state’s real-time auction system, meaning the cost to charge a Tesla would have risen from around $25 to $900.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that ERCOT was “not earning the that R” in its acronym.
For some Texans affected by the outages, their Tesla vehicle also provided a refuge of warmth when power in their house was disrupted.
A vehicle software update in 2019 saw Tesla’s receive a ‘Camp Mode’, which allows owners to use climate control and lights without significantly draining the battery.
“So my wife my dog and newborn daughter slept in the garage in our Model 3 all nice and cosy,” one Reddit user wrote on the Reddit forum TeslaMotors.
“If I didn’t have this car, it would have been a very rough night.”
Houses with a Tesla Solar Roof installed were also clear of snow, even after a heavy fall, as they emitted enough heat to melt a layer to water and cause any build up to slide off.
The clear rooves then allowed the solar panels to begin generating electricity from the sun’s energy again.
A video of the process on a home under construction in Wisconsin was shared on Tesla’s social media channels.