I’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Tesla Model S – all-electric sports car. But something that possibly goes unnoticed is the progress Tesla are making towards self-sufficient energy supplies for homes and business’.
The Powerwall is the invention in question and coupled with solar panels has the potential to store all of the energy from the sun, via the solar panels and disperse it at night (or during those times when you can’t rely on the sunshine we all know and love here in the UK.)
A posh storage heater I thought, trying to relate this to something I have in my apartment at home! but obviously so much more than that….At a press conference, Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk unveiled what he described as “the missing piece” in sustainable energy – batteries that can be used in homes and businesses to store power from solar or wind or take advantage of cheap electricity overnight.
In the UK, the Powerwall device can be used by homes in conjunction with solar panels to power their homes with free electricity 24 hours a day by storing energy produced during sunlight hours. The stored energy can then be used when solar panels cannot produce energy in the evening and night time due to the sun going down. Alternatively, if you do not or can not install solar panels then the Powerwall will also enable you to purchase electricity during the night when it is cheaper and then use it during the day as and when required.
Tesla is currently building their Giga-Factory in Nevada and potentially one in India too with a view to mass-producing their technology and making it affordable for the masses as the current asking price of their technology means the device is not quite on an affordable level for most.
It will impact on the energy market as their cost plummets; using solar panel technology, for example, prices have dropped some 70% in last 5 years, creating an increase in solar panels being used here in the UK and without a form to store the energy. use of solar power will overwhelm the grid.
A number of solar companies now offer batteries to accompany their solar panels but lack storage capacity however Tesla’s residential battery, the Powerwall, will be available in several months and will come in two options, a seven-kilowatt-hour battery system and a larger 10-kilowatt-hour system. The larger battery would keep an average-sized home running for a day.
Tesla expects that many sales will come from commercial customers who pay a variable rate of electricity over the course of a day based on demand. Such customers already see significant reductions in their energy bills by drawing on stored electricity during periods of peak energy demand.
Most utilities that offer net metering, however, also allow residential customers to buy and sell electricity at rates that vary throughout the day based on demand. Battery storage would allow such people to maximize the value of the electricity they sell back to the utility.
Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory, which it’s building with Panasonic, will have an annual production capacity of 35 gigawatt-hours by 2020, more than all the lithium-ion batteries produced globally in 2013!
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is an inspiration to our generation, with seemingly genuine belief and aspirations of making the world a better place, insightful and driven. I follow him on Twitter and frequently see inspired quotes from him that are well worth a read: Elon Musk on Twitter – @elonmusk