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Texas tapping 'virtual power plants,' increasing grid reliability and earning homeowners money

Under the program officially launched this week, some Texas residents can sell excess stored electricity on the ERCOT market to stabilize the grid.

DALLAS — Some Texans are selling excess stored electricity to the state's power grid Friday under a new program that will eventually transform the ERCOT market. 

People living in the Houston and Dallas areas with Tesla Powerwall batteries connected to home solar panels can now participate. Texas' Public Utility Commission of Texas announced their eligibility Wednesday. 

Capacity added to the grid this week is all-but-negligible, though experts say the program creates a framework which will boost grid reliability and reduce demand in coming years. 

"It's very exciting, from a grid reliability perspective, from an affordability perspective... and from an emissions perspective," said Doug Lewin, an energy consultant who authors the Texas Energy and Power newsletter.

Clayton Meeker is among the Texans participating Friday. He was among the first Texans to sell excess stored power to the grid during initial tests of the idea. 

His company, Good Faith Energy, installed Solar Panels on his roof that power his home and feed to two Tesla batteries in his garage. When he chooses, Meeker can sell the stored power he doesn't need on the ERCOT market. 

"Since April, when I started this whole thing, I've paid about $75 total in electricity," Meeker said. 

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