Sustainable homebuilders welcome Tesla's home energy storage system
Photo courtesy Mesocore.
As homebuilders respond to demand for solar power system, Tesla's Powerwall system helps solve the renewable energy storage crisis.
Homeowners who want to be able to live off the grid or have backup power for severe weather events were faced with expensive and cumbersome battery systems. Tesla last week announced the Powerwall system, a sleek package of lithium ion batteries that can be mounted inside or outside a home to store renewable energy.
Home and commercial battery power technology has already been in use by sustainable home builder Mesocore. Mesocore founder Joe Esposito has deployed battery storage technology internationally and domestically. Mesocore has built homes in in Riviera Beach, Floridan and elsewhere that are self-sustaining with renewable energy and clean water. This is thanks to the home's inclusion of a rainwater harvesting system, in addition to solar and battery backup. And they can be used as sleek single-family homes, small multifamily homes, and even commercial buildings. It's the complete package already in a box.
Mesocore homes are designed to be operated on or off infrastructure “grids” which supply electricity and water. A Mesocore home starts out as a newly built structural steel chassis, assembled in a modern automated factory. No old containers are used. This chassis is then fitted with two full bathrooms and a kitchen with all finishes, fixtures and appliances installed and tested.
A single 20-foot container becomes a 1000-square foot Mesocore house, with no conventional container to rent or return.
All specialized work, including electrical and plumbing, is completed in the factory. The balance of material and construction on site (exterior wall panels, ceiling and floors, roof membrane and insulation) is prefabricated to be simply lifted and fastened into place by persons needing no construction experience. "They don't even have to know how to read a tape measure," Esposito said.
The strength of the chassis enables a 2000-gallon water tank and all equipment for rainwater purification to be factory installed. All remaining construction materials packed into the container allows completion of the house on its slab with no additional deliveries.
Mesocore has built sustainable buildings in Lagos, Nigeria, where the units are expected to become a core solution for providing consistent power in off grid communities, and enabling sustainable development and affordable housing projects.
This not only solves energy and eco-friendliness challenges, but goes a long way to alleviate the water crisis, and affordable housing crisis.
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.
"The Powerwall aims to leverage the ability to store solar energy, and even share it across smart micro-grids," Esposito said. "This way small communities can share power as needed. They could potentially become a source of income for owners, while eliminating the rising costs and unreliability of old-school, over-worked utility services."
Read more about generating electricity at home.