Category Archives: News

Powerwall: Tesla’s Home Energy Storage Solution

Tesla’s Powerwall announced

Last month, Tesla Motors unveiled their new Powerwall battery packs for home and commercial use, and in less than a month, they’ve already sold out through mid-2016.  With such staggering sales numbers in less than a month, Tesla’s Powerwall units have already made significant headlines in financial news, but the impact on how we operate the electric grid will certainly make headlines after units begin shipping this summer.

There are two basic purposes for the the Powerwall batteries. The residential user can use a 7 kWh  daily-cycle battery, coupled with solar panels on their roof, to store excess solar energy during the day, and to purchase and store cheaper electricity from the utility company at night. Commercial users are typically more interested in
(possibly an array of) 10 kWh units for back-up/reliability applications. In this capacity, the batteries can provide uninterrupted power to the customer when the local utility experiences an outage. Smaller operations may use a Powerwall array as a cleaner, smaller alternative to on-site diesel generators.

How will distributed storage impact the grid?

The immense capacity of Tesla’s Gigafactory suggests that they have no intentions of slowing down production or shipments for quite some time. Utilities and grid operators must now ask themselves how batteries from Tesla and other competitors will impact distribution systems. Peak-shaving has long been a goal of operators, but control over storage units is now shifting to the customers, downstream of metering devices, where it will essentially be invisible to the distribution operator. Furthermore, if many customers install batteries that follow the similar rate-based charge/discharge schedules, the utility will see a large shift in when real power is demanded from the substation. This could cause power factor issues during the day, (when potentially less real power then normal is demanded), or thermal rating violations at night (when pre-set control settings are no longer reasonable for an unusually large demand). These questions are further complicated by the stochastic elements related to distributed generation devices (i.e. solar and wind), which, when viewed in tandem with the widespread storage, can result in a substation demand profile being completely different between one day and the next.

Spring 2015 Course Offerings

Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Graduate Course Descriptions


 Spring Term Offerings

Courses taught by CEPE Faculty

ECEP 354 – Energy Management Principles

ECEP 413 – Power Systems III

ECEP 423/ 603 – Service & Power Quality in Distribution Systems

ECEP 503 – Synchronous Machine Modelling

Other ECEP Courses

ECEP 371 – Intro to Nuclear Engineering

ECEP 380 – Intro to Renewable Energy

ECEP 403 – Nuclear Power Plant Design & Operation

ECEP 642 – Protective Relaying II

Winter 2015 Course Offerings

Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Graduate Course Descriptions


 Winter Term Offerings

Courses taught by CEPE Faculty

ECEP 352 – Electric Motor Control Principles

ECEP 412 – Power Systems II

ECEP 422/ 602 – Power Distribution System  Automation & Control

ECEP 502 – Computer Analysis of Power Systems

Other ECEP Courses

ECEP 372 – Radiation Detection

ECEP 406 – Intro to Radiation Health Principles

ECEP 480 – Solar Energy Engineering

ECEP 641 – Protective Relaying

Fall 2014 Course Offerings

Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Graduate Course Descriptions


 Fall Term Offerings

Courses taught by CEPE Faculty

ECEP 354 – Energy Management Principles

ECEP 411 – Power Systems I

ECEP 421 / 601 – Modeling and Analysis of Electric Power Distribution Systems

ECEP 501 – Power System Analysis

Other ECEP Courses

ECEP 371 – Intro to Nuclear Engineering

ECEP 380 – Intro to Renewable Energy

ECEP 402 – Theory of Nuclear Reactors