Tesla announces batteries for home renewable energy storage
Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla will sell a home battery system that would allow consumers to store energy from home solar or wind systems and live off the grid if they desire.
Tesla founder Elon Musk announced the Powerwall Home Battery system of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries similar to those in the Tesla Model S.
The consumer level Powerwall system will provide 7kWh or 10 kWh of storage, and will allow users to store energy they produce with a solar array or other home power generation system. A larger 100kWh battery is aimed at commercial users. The batteries will allow homes and businesses to use more renewable energy, avoid peak demand charges, and maintain operation in when the power goes out. Larger battery systems will be marketed to utilities.
A home battery system can help utilities reduce peak load demand, like on a hot summer day when every home and business runs the air conditioner at full blast. Some utilities charge more for power during those peak demand periods, and also must build generating capacity to handle the load. Electricity is generated on demand, and not stored. A battery system would allow a utility to store energy and use it when needed, lessening the need for additional generating capacity and reducing fossil fuel consumption during peak demand periods.
Elon Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity, one of the largest residential solar power installers in the U.S., with tens of thousands of customers.
The home Powerwall will be available in six colors, weigh 220 pounds and can be mounted on a wall. It will come in two versions, a 10-kWh setup for $3,500, and a 7-kWh unit for $3,000, and a 10-year warranty. It's Internet connected and ready to communicate with a solar inverter. Musk said that deliveries would begin later this summer.
The average American home consumes about 30 kilowatt-hours of energy a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
So the Powerwall isn't a long-term off-grid option, but it could provide back up power for extended outages due to weather events.
The larger Powerpack is “infinitely scalable,” Musk said. It consists of 100-kilowatt-hour blocks that can be clustered to meet power demands. California and New York have mandated utilities develop storage capacity for renewable energy and to balance loads on the grid.
Tesla is building a $5 billion “Gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada to scale up mass production needed to drive down battery costs for both cars and energy-storage products. Tesla is working with Southern California Edison to install batteries for utilities, while Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. will pilot use of Tesla’s batteries for business.
Read more about home solar power.