Elon Musk has led the electric car revolution to new technological heights now he is putting his wizardry into an affordable new battery that can take homes and businesses off the grid. With this lithium-ion battery Musk wants to revolutionize the way people and business access energy. It represents an important step forward in renewable energy storage and fossil free zero emission power. There are currently three versions of this super-efficient battery: Two home versions called the "Powerwall" and a larger scalable business and commercial version called the "Powerpack."
Musk is the CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, the Chairman of SolarCity and the driving force behind a revolutionary new form of rapid transit called the hyperloop. The Tesla P85D is acknowledged as one of the best electric cars in the world. It recently won the 2015 AAA Best Green Car Award for the second year in a row.
Musk's new venture is part of a partnership with SolarCity that was first announced in February. This ambitious enterprise is designed to pair SolarCity roof mounted solar panels with the Tesla battery.
“Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk told Bloomberg. “We’re talking at the terawatt scale. The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world.”
Prices start at only $3000 and mass production at a $5 billion Reno Nevada factory currently under construction should drive down the price. More factories will be needed to achieve the scope of penetration Musk hopes for.
These batteries are designed to meet all the power requirements during peak demand. Their are currently three batteries, two Powerwall versions including a 7kWh unit that costs $3,000, a 10kWh unit that will retail for $3,500. A much more powerful business version is called the Powerpack. Those with greater power requirement can use multiple batteries (up to 90 kWh total for the 10 kWh battery and 63 kWh total for the 7 kWh battery). The commercial Powerpack version delivers 100 kWh and it is designed for use by electric utilities and companies. The unit is infinitely scaleable.
Tesla’s batteries are already being used by companies such as Wal-Mart, Cargill, Jackson Family Wines, and Green Mountain Power which plans to sell its home batteries to customers. Tesla has also partnered with Southern California Edison to install batteries for utilities. Amazon and Target will pilot the batteries.
The storage of renewable energy has long been an issue of great interest due to the so called "intermittency" problem (no energy is produced when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing).
Those connected to the grid can use the battery to reduce their energy costs. Through what is called ‘load-shifting’ the battery can charge during times when electricity prices are lower due to less demand, and discharge when demand and prices are high. This may be of particular interest to businesses who are always seeking ways to reduce their energy costs.
There is also an energy security component to these batteries as they offer the ability to provide energy when there are power outages.
One of the more promising applications of these batteries is in the developing world. This technology could enable them to leap-frog traditional power grids and forgo massive energy infrastructure costs.
This automated, compact battery comes with a 10 year guarantee and it is also simple to install. Deliveries are expected to begin in late summer 2015 in the US and internationally in 2016.
As reported by CBC, research firm IHS CERA, expects huge growth in the energy storage industry over the next few years, from $200 million in 2012 to $19 billion in 2017. Deutsche Bank estimated sales of stationary battery storage systems for homes and commercial uses could yield as much as $4.5 billion in revenue for Tesla.
Here is a breakdown of the specs from Tesla:
TechnologyWall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control
Models: 10 kWh $3,500For backup applications7 kWh $3,000For daily cycle applications
Warranty: 10 years
Efficiency: 92% round-trip DC efficiency
Power: 2.0 kW continuous, 3.3 kW peak
Voltage: 350 – 450 volts
Current: 5.8 amp nominal, 8.6 amp peak output
Compatibility: Single phase and three phase utility grid compatible
Operating Temperature: 4°F to 110°F / -20°C to 43°C
Enclosure: Rated for indoor and outdoor installation
Installation: Requires installation by a trained electrician. DC-AC inverter not included
Weight: 220 lbs / 100 kg
Dimensions: 51.2" x 33.9" x 7.1" 1300 mm x 860 mm x 180 mm
Certification: NRTL listed to UL standards