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Tesla App Utility plan configuration: Multiple Peaks, Buy/Sell Behavior, etc

JayClark

Member
Aug 6, 2019
259
236
Arizona
Starting a thread to document behavior I'm seeing using the new multiple peaks configurations (really multiple of any type). Maybe this information exists elsewhere but I couldn't find it when I first had my system go live a couple years ago, and I'm not really seeing if for the multiple peak configuration capabilities either. Please let me know if this is duplicative. And I know this is totally TLDR, but I wish I would have found this type information, spelled out in an example like this when I was considering my system.

For this first example I'm looking at how Mid-Peak behaves when placed between two true PEAK utility windows that are not consecutive. My utility has no mid-peak window (the red Peak windows are actual utility cost windows though with large demand charges for ANY usage). I'm configuring the mid-peak because I have more solar and PW capacity than I need in the winter, and I want to test prioritizing of running the house with extra solar.

Question being answered: Will the system determine when l have enough PW juice (SOC) to cover my peaks, including covering my configured backup reserve level (all shown configured below), and if so will it then power my house from Solar, from Grid, from the PW or what - even if my PW SOC is not 100%?

Rates shown as configured in the snapshot below are roughly in alignment with my utility plan, but not exact (not enough decimal places), but I don't think it matters as long as they are close and correct relative to each other across peak/non-peak types - since I'm more worried about system behavior than I am in tracking actual costs at this point.

My System: 4PWs, 4.1kW PV - whole house backup (no sub circuits for backup)
My Multiple-Peaks and Off-Peaks Configuration is as Follows and includes a 35% reserve I don't change during this example on this day
.
IMG_3267.jpg
IMG_3270.jpg


Sending/selling Solar Power (not Powerwall Power) back to the grid (yellow downward peak below): Before my true utility Peak period ended at 9am (with high demand charges), the system began selling back power to the grid, only any additional solar above and beyond what the house needed for house loads. Which was perfect - since it never pulled from the grid during this time and only sold back extra. I believe if the sell-price was set to zero (instead of $0.10 as shown in the configuration above) it would have simply sent the extra to the PW. I have more testing to do in this regard, but this is the behavior I believe I have seen when inadvertently testing with mid-peak. Mid-peak would sell back to the grid if I configured a sell value, and stop selling if I made the sell value zero - but I have more testing to do in a more planned and controlled manner to confirm this.
IMG_3292.jpg


After my morning peak (red in the configuration snapshot at the top) that ended at 9am, my SOC was about 50%, and the Mid-Peak window (yellow bar in the top config snapshot) became active. At that point the system sent all Solar power to the PW and all house loads were handled by the grid. This makes sense, it needs to get enough SOC to cover upcoming Peaks during my much cheaper mid-peak, so the real-time usage looked something like this (below):
IMG_3274.jpg
IMG_3275.jpg

It really didn't matter if my home usage went up or down all solar went to the PW and the house was powered by the Grid for most of the morning, thus the two snap shots above with slightly different house usage but system behaving the same no matter. I grabbed these particular snaps fairly close together, but this was what it was doing all morning during my configured mid-peak as usage went up and down.

Around 12:47 (below, and still during my Mid-Peak window) my capacity must have hit the point where the system decided I now have enough SOC to cover my evening Peak-Window (that will start at 5pm) and the following day's morning peak window, over and above my set reserve. On normal days during the winter my home, during the two daily peaks seems to use between 20 and 25% of my PW capacity. So what the systems seems to be doing here is charging until I have about about 30% SOC over and above my reserve plus the two peak period requirements - so it includes some buffer 5-10%.

So now (around 12:47) the system has started running the home off of solar, with any extra being used to continue to top off the PW. After another 1% or so was added to the PW SOC, I started my car charging very slowly (5amps, maybe ~2.5 kWs), at which point it's clearly prioritizing running the house & car charging loads off of Solar (snapshot 2). Eventually it started pulling also from the PW (3rd snap below), but only for a little while. By 1pm (4th snapshot) it must have decided it was going to impact SOC needs for my Peaks and Reserve if usage continued at this level and it went back to powering the home off of only Solar and Grid.
IMG_3276.jpg
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After slowly increasing my car charging rate up to about 7.4kW, and seeing no change in behavior, I stopped the car charging and the system went back to topping off the PW with any extra solar.

IMG_3289.jpg


In a nut shell, this is how I expected the system to work with configured Peaks (now including multiple daily peaks) and Mid-Peaks ever since my home system went live, but this first time I seem to be able to reliably configure this behavior in a repeatable manner in the winter when we have two non-consecutive peak periods in the same day.

Additionally, and I think this is a very important capability, until now I've never been able to configure the system to send extra solar back to the grid during the peak unless my SOC was over 100% which rarely occurs in the summer during peak periods for my particular setup. And when it did occur it would be during off-peak which is not when I want to send power back to the grid. It's more valuable to send it back during peak, and now I can pretty much assure that's when extra solar will go back to the grid. Also in the winter the PW for my system will tend to sit at 100% during a large part of my daytime off-peak period (and on weekends), but I'd prefer the PW not sit at 100% for battery longevity/health reasons, and for round trip PW loss/efficiency reasons. In the winter I WANT to send extra solar back to the grid before I have to max out the PW SOC. It's just wasted efficiency and wear/tear for the system to sit at 100% constantly sipping down a few percents when my load jumps up, and then recharging as house and solar loads bounce around. As shown above, the bouncing around for my system now happens around SOC of 66%, which is almost the IDEAL SOC to do that bouncing for all of these reasons. So the way it's working now is pretty much ideal for my situation using these new configuration options. In the summer months (about 6 months of the year) I do need the full PW capacity, but for the winter 6 months this optimization seems to work well.

Hopefully this example is informative, with more to come if so. But also having said and written all of this, it seems we all have different PW capacities, different amounts of installed and actual PV generation, different reserves set, different home loads, and different timing of our home loads, different rate plans, etc - so all of these differences will result in different behaviors, and in particular different timing of these observed behavior from one system to the next.

My next testing, unless somebody beats me to it will be to test this same scenario above, but by using only off-peak instead of mid-peak to see how the system behaves compared to this test I've done the last few days, but with all other values being the same. And then further in the future I'll play with these scenarios, but with different buy-sell values to see if that forces some different behavior across Peak/Mid/Off-Peak types.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,553
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Riverside Co. CA
(moderator note)

I love this idea, of a thread specifically for people to dig into the new app settings, report what works, how the system behaves, specific settings that work for their specific utility plan, etc. I like this as a sticky thread idea actually, so I am going to make it a sticky thread so it doesnt get lost. The only thing is, I am not sure if the thread title works for a sticky thread.

I am thinking of something like:

Tesla App Utility plan configuration: Multiple Peaks, Buy/Sell Behavior, etc

As the current title does not mention that its either in the tesla app or that its utility plan configuration.

@JayClark et. al, any objections to title change and sticky thread? I would be "unsticking" the "Tesla app 4.0 thread", not to stop discussion on it, but its been out for a bit now and I think we can let that one rise or fall on its own without being stickied unless there is strong opposition to unsticking that one.


Note: for anyone just now reading along, the beginning of this discussion happened starting from page 4 in a different thread, which I will link below. I am not moving those posts into this thread, as it will then push the first post in this thread down, as threads on TMC are merged by post timestamp. Below is a link to page 4 in the respective thread mentioned.

 
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JayClark

Member
Aug 6, 2019
259
236
Arizona
(moderator note)

I love this idea, of a thread specifically for people to dig into the new app settings, report what works, how the system behaves, specific settings that work for their specific utility plan, etc. I like this as a sticky thread idea actually, so I am going to make it a sticky thread so it doesnt get lost. The only thing is, I am not sure if the thread title works for a sticky thread.

I am thinking of something like:

Tesla App Utility plan configuration: Multiple Peaks, Buy/Sell Behavior, etc

As the current title does not mention that its either in the tesla app or that its utility plan configuration.

@JayClark et. al, any objections to title change and sticky thread? I would be "unsticking" the "Tesla app 4.0 thread", not to stop discussion on it, but its been out for a bit now and I think we can let that one rise or fall on its own without being stickied unless there is strong opposition to unsticking that one.


Note: for anyone just now reading along, the beginning of this discussion happened starting from page 4 in a different thread, which I will link below. I am not moving those posts into this thread, as it will then push the first post in this thread down, as threads on TMC are merged by post timestamp. Below is a link to page 4 in the respective thread mentioned.

Works for me, name change and all.
 

Kcarver

Member
Aug 17, 2020
26
16
Gilbert AZ
Thanks for details @JayClark I’m in AZ also on SRP utility. I’m using just Peak and Off Peak setting for the 2 peak periods. ive been using Darwins Den Hubitat app for almost a year to get behavior I want. However it recently quit working due to Tesla server authentication and I can’t seem to get it to work again even after downloading the latest version that was suppose to fix. This new app seems to be even better and I’ll likely stay with it. I also see solar being sent to grid during peak instead of PW. After peak then solar goes to charging PW back up.
 

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JayClark

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259
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Arizona
Thanks for details @JayClark I’m in AZ also on SRP utility. I’m using just Peak and Off Peak setting for the 2 peak periods. ive been using Darwins Den Hubitat app for almost a year to get behavior I want. However it recently quit working due to Tesla server authentication and I can’t seem to get it to work again even after downloading the latest version that was suppose to fix. This new app seems to be even better and I’ll likely stay with it. I also see solar being sent to grid during peak instead of PW. After peak then solar goes to charging PW back up.
Yes, I used Darwin’s app for years, it was a lifesaver. Fantastic app. But with Tesla’s security changes to tokens I was also having trouble keeping it running. While it shouldn’t have taken this long, Tesla’s update is very welcome. It is the right way to manage the system relative to the utility rate plans. And nobody else offers anything like it as far as I can tell.
 
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JayClark

Member
Aug 6, 2019
259
236
Arizona
Quick update regarding behavior of setting the Sell Value for Peaks and Mid-Peaks when trying to control whether extra solar gets sold back to the grid vs going to charging the PW.

With the days getting cloudy this week, my PW SOC was not getting back high enough to cover both peaks as comfortably as I'd like. Because I had my Peak Buy/Sell values both set to 0.05, during my morning Peak (red bar in the snapshots) the system was selling any extra solar as it came on line in the morning back to the grid instead of charging the PW.

So for the next few days I changed my Peak period sell value to "0.01" (i.e. lower than my buy, as shown in the Pricing snapshot) and the behavior did change so that extra solar started flowing to running the house and charging the PW - instead of back to the grid.

On other days of testing, I have also have confirmed that MID-Peak (yellow bar in schedule snapshot) behaves the same way which surprised me. If you set your Sell and Buy values for Mid-Peak periods both to 0.05 (in my case) then Mid-peak will also sell back extra solar back to the grid if it thinks you have enough SOC to cover any upcoming Peaks (red bars).

The difference between Peak & Mid-Peak in this regards seeming to be that Mid-Peak DOES take into consideration the set reserve, and DOES take into consideration any upcoming Peaks that it will need to cover, and then will "refocus" on replenishing the PW state of charge up to the level it predicts you'll need to cover the upcoming peak over and above your reserve setting. Mid-Peak will also pull from the grid to run the house while it builds the head-room in the PW SOC. Once MID-Peak hits it's SOC buffer it thinks you need(which on clear days is always pretty spot on, but not very accurate on cloudy days), at this that point it may start selling back to the grid if the system has a high Sell value. Where as during a Peak period, the system will use up all SOC right up until it hits your reserve, and sell back extra solar the whole time potentially when the system is configured with a high sell value, and peaks will not pull from the grid until it does hit 0 SOC or until the SOC hits your reserve - only then will it pull from the grid.

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JayClark

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Aug 6, 2019
259
236
Arizona
In summary, are you saying that setting your sale value low will make the system function more like it did when "Balanced" mode was an option?
Yes that is my take generally.

Although, for me over the last few months the behavior seemed less predictable for my system on balanced than what I can force now with the new settings and sell/buy values. Possibly, just because of the unique balance of relatively small PV capacity to high PW capacity that I have, and the particular usage pattern for my home sometimes balanced would work like this for me, doing what I wanted, other times over the last few months it would randomly not behave in what seemed a very balanced manner. It would either allow the PW to drain way down when I had solar (i.e. focusing on running the house for too long), or it might have focused on driving the PW SOC straight to 100% without sharing PV to run house loads - vs a more balanced, maybe slow charging of the PW while simultaneously covering house loads in what I would have considered a more "Balanced" manner. Seemed like a waste to drive the PW SOC to 100% using PV while not running the house "at all" on PV, only to then have to send extra Solar to the grid because it hand't left any storage "head-room" capacity in the PW.

With the Buy/Sell values, used across Peak and Mid-Peak it seems it's easier to force the behavior I want now for mid-peak (which is still technically off-peak as far as my utility is concerned, but for me, while PV is producing it allows me to specify a more "balanced" behavior while I have plenty of PV) when previously I had to use "balanced" and hope it worked as expected. Often it did, but more than I liked I didn't.

Anyway, it seems to be to be much more predictable, while at the same time allowing me to refine when I wanted certain predictable behaviors to occur - i.e. much easier to tweak the duration of the Mid-Peak to further refine the "balancing" behavior say on a week where it might be forecast to be consistently cloudy - yet without having to spend a lot of time "constantly" fiddling with setting through out each day to get expected behavior. I can look at the forecast for the week, and scale back my mid-peak to off-peak ratios with a single slider, and be done until the forecast shows clear days a ahead, and then easy to "slide" back to longer mid-peak (i.e. balanced) behavior when I have plenty of PV/Sunshine.

Maybe I'm just a control freak, but now that control freakiness is pretty well satisfied. I also realize I sound a little like a fan-boy now - but this is how I thought the system could be managed from the beginning. So very relieved we have these controls now, and fingers crossed they don't make a change that regresses the current functionality.
 
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ZBB

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Feb 27, 2013
1,575
295
Scottsdale
We received access to the new settings a couple days ago. working great so far — and fixed the issues we had with the old cost savings mode.

We are in the Houston area and have a free nights plan — and we are only charged for peak use from 6am to 8pm. There is no charge for grid draw during off-peak. Excess generation goes to the grid for $0. Previous cost savings mode would start pulling from the Powerwalls overnight, well before Peak starts And draw down to pretty close to the reserve % setting. Since the new features, there is no Powerwall draw during off-peak. I have reserve set to 79%, and the lowest the Powerwalls get is 86-90%….

Thanks Tesla!
 
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I've had my Powerwall for over a year, but the latest software updates have messing things up. Can anyone take a stab as to why it was discharging when power could be drawn from the grid at $0.01? I rebooted the Powerall last week, and haven't made changes since then. Screenshots were taken this morning. Version 21.35.3, serial STG120295001K88.

Charging my Tesla Y is most of the home load.

Thanks!
 

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Additional information:
1. Doesn't appear to be a clock issue, because Powerwall discharges in the evening as expected (except for #2 below)
2. After 3pm, the Powerwall used to power the house while the solar generation went to the grid. This is broken too; Powerwall doesn't power the house until there is no more solar
 
Additional information:
1. Doesn't appear to be a clock issue, because Powerwall discharges in the evening as expected (except for #2 below)
2. After 3pm, the Powerwall used to power the house while the solar generation went to the grid. This is broken too; Powerwall doesn't power the house until there is no more solar
A screenshot of the actual Powerwall discharge/recharge flows (just tap on the Powerwall) over the day would have be a lot more useful to understand what is happening over time.
 
A screenshot of the actual Powerwall discharge/recharge flows (just tap on the Powerwall) over the day would have be a lot more useful to understand what is happening over time.
The most representative day was last Friday. However, the backup reserve was set to 20% (all else was the same). Things to note:
1. The Powerwall discharges between 3:45am and 8:20am. It shouldn't be doing that
2. At 3pm the Powerwall is at 87% charge. I want Powerwall to start powering the house at this time, and send solar to the grid. However it continues to use solar to charge the Powerwall (to 89%)
 

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getakey

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Jan 28, 2020
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The most representative day was last Friday. However, the backup reserve was set to 20% (all else was the same). Things to note:
1. The Powerwall discharges between 3:45am and 8:20am. It shouldn't be doing that
2. At 3pm the Powerwall is at 87% charge. I want Powerwall to start powering the house at this time, and send solar to the grid. However it continues to use solar to charge the Powerwall (to 89%)
that totally looks wrong. Was it working correctly before the App update?
 
The most representative day was last Friday. However, the backup reserve was set to 20% (all else was the same). Things to note:
1. The Powerwall discharges between 3:45am and 8:20am. It shouldn't be doing that
2. At 3pm the Powerwall is at 87% charge. I want Powerwall to start powering the house at this time, and send solar to the grid. However it continues to use solar to charge the Powerwall (to 89%)
Those screenshots are very very weird. The grid is all grey and isn't color coded with blue for grid-to-house and yellow for solar-to-house. Same for the Powerwall view now blue for PW-to-House or yellow for Solar-to-PW. What is your system setup? How much solar? How many Powerwalls? How many gateways?

Beyond that, you have set your Buy/Sell levels to be the same with $0.01/$0.01 for Off-Peak and $1.50/$1.50 for Peak. I would suggest that you use more realistic values with
  • Off Peak - Buy $0.12 and Sell $0.10
  • Peak - Buy $0.36 and Sell $0.30
That gets you a strong differential between Off-Peak and Peak and more than a 20% differential between the Buy/Sell which is worse than the 90% efficiency for recharging.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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Riverside Co. CA
Those screenshots are very very weird. The grid is all grey and isn't color coded with blue for grid-to-house and yellow for solar-to-house. Same for the Powerwall view now blue for PW-to-House or yellow for Solar-to-PW. What is your system setup? How much solar? How many Powerwalls? How many gateways?

Beyond that, you have set your Buy/Sell levels to be the same with $0.01/$0.01 for Off-Peak and $1.50/$1.50 for Peak. I would suggest that you use more realistic values with
  • Off Peak - Buy $0.12 and Sell $0.10
  • Peak - Buy $0.36 and Sell $0.30
That gets you a strong differential between Off-Peak and Peak and more than a 20% differential between the Buy/Sell which is worse than the 90% efficiency for recharging.

Those screenshots are what it looks like when you select the individual sections but do not also click the little "graph" button next to the time frame (day in the screenshot). If you dont click that button next to day in the screenshot, the individual categories only show you their own data, its not overlaid with anything else.

The grid graph will show only grid and be grey. Click the button next to the timeframe (day) and then it overlays the other information. Im only commenting on the graphing view, not the pricing etc as I dont have nearly as much experience as you with that.
 
Those screenshots are what it looks like when you select the individual sections but do not also click the little "graph" button next to the time frame (day in the screenshot). If you dont click that button next to day in the screenshot, the individual categories only show you their own data, its not overlaid with anything else.

The grid graph will show only grid and be grey. Click the button next to the timeframe (day) and then it overlays the other information. Im only commenting on the graphing view, not the pricing etc as I dont have nearly as much experience as you with that.
Maybe it is an iOS versus Android thing? I'm using Android and every displayed is color coded all the time.

Edit: Strike that, I was finally able to successfully click the icon next to the Day label and have it revert to a single color.
 
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JayClark

Member
Aug 6, 2019
259
236
Arizona
Beyond that, you have set your Buy/Sell levels to be the same with $0.01/$0.01 for Off-Peak and $1.50/$1.50 for Peak. I would suggest that you use more realistic values with
  • Off Peak - Buy $0.12 and Sell $0.10
  • Peak - Buy $0.36 and Sell $0.30
I agree with Redhill.

Although, while 0.01 for buy may be close to realistic for what the OP indicated the utility is charging (since I think the OP said they have zero charge for offpeak), like Redhill mentioned, I think to force the PW behavior the OP wants they'd want to fill in a higher number for Buy, say like 0.10 or higher, and for the sell side the OP should set a very much lower number, so could leave it at 0.01... those values should tell the PW that it doesn't make sense to sell back to the grid since the sell is so much lower than the buy. The closer those buy/sell values are, the less predictable it will be what the system does in terms of buying/selling power.

My experience has been that if the system sees a similar buy and sell, and if the system predicts any extra PV capacity (whether accurate or not), then most likely it will think it makes sense to offset usage by selling back to the grid if the costs are even close to similar (for buy and sell). I've never used 0.01 for buy and sell, but when I've set BOTH buy and sell values to be equal at around 4-5 cents, it has always tried to sell back to the grid for even the off-peak windows. Where as if buy is much higher than sell, then the system sees no benefit to selling power back to grid then it will focus on powering the house and/or raising the PW SOC.

So with BOTH buy and sell values set to 0.01 it's not surprising to me that the system was selling back to the grid based on my experience, even though selling for a single penny does seem ridiculous for sure relative to the OPs peak costs.
 
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