Allan Holdsworth and Javier Bustos were first in line to tap into a new source of renewable energy on-island.
In their quest to live as green as possible, the Grand Harbour residents installed Tesla batteries in their five-bedroom home. Recently approved for residential applications, the rechargeable battery system stores energy generated during the day.
“There is more than enough stored energy in these two batteries to run our entire home until the sun comes up again in the morning,” says Allan.
The Tesla system is there mainly for backup in the event of a power outage. It works with their existing solar power system, which produces more than enough power during the day to run the entire household. Any excess is sent to the grid for a credit with Caribbean Utilities Company or used to top up the batteries when needed.
Allan says an impressive aspect of the system is the app.
“The Tesla app is a very useful, fun and powerful tool at our fingertips,” he says. “The batteries are operated by a state-of-the-art computer called a Gateway. This computer is linked to our Wi-Fi and enables the Tesla company to monitor our system 24/7.”
The app allows them to quickly and easily see how much energy their 32 solar panels are producing at any given time and where that energy is being sent.
“If the Gateway computer knows that there is a storm in the vicinity, which increases the probability of a grid power outage, the computer automatically makes sure that the batteries are not used so that the stored energy is available for the running of the home in the event the grid goes down,” he says.
The sleek design is another appealing aspect of the Tesla batteries, which come in a variety of colours and can be installed indoors or outdoors.
James Whittaker of GreenTech Solar, which installed the batteries, says the Tesla system is in demand in Cayman.
“We expect to sell several hundred batteries a year in the Cayman market,” he says. “These batteries are going to have a big and positive impact on the ability to increase the amount of renewable energy on the grid and reduce our carbon emissions. Consumers are definitely interested in these solutions.”
Allan, a retired former Vancouver Island resident, has lived in Cayman for four years, and is not only looking to reduce energy use and costs but do his part for the environment.
He and Javier support green organisations such as Plastic Free Cayman and are looking to invest in electric vehicles.
“We recycle all of our waste wherever possible and stay clear of single use plastics,” he says.
“We enjoy walking on the beaches and, whenever possible, pick up plastics and remove it from the beach.”
Their canal front home is well-insulated and is filled with ‘pre-loved’ and repurposed furniture and décor items such as lamps, picture frames and plant pots.
“EcayTrade is our friend,” he says.
Allan says the batteries, which cost about US$12,000 each, mean peace of mind, particularly living in a storm-prone region.
“This is a small price to pay to have this huge sense of security,” says Allan. “When the grid is down, whether it be for a short period of time or a prolonged period, we will always have electricity.”