One of the issues facing the solar industry is that solar energy only works when the sun is shining. How can the solar industry begin to capture and harness the sun’s energy for use when the sun is not shining? Batteries.
Existing attempts at solar batteries are expensive, unreliable, poor integration, poor lifetime, low efficiency, not scalable and unattractive, making adoption slow to pick up momentum.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, announced a new approach to solar storage. The Tesla Powerwall is a wall-mounted, aesthetically pleasing, lithium-ion, suitcase-sized battery that comes in a variety of colors. Designed to integrate with solar systems right out of the box, the Powerwall is designed for homeowners to store the energy produced by their solar system.
Available in 10kWh ($3,500) and 7kWh ($3,000), the Powerwalls can be used as a source of backup power or to extend the benefits of solar. The Powerwall can store solar electricity during the day when electricity rates are low and power your home when rates are high. The Powerwall provides energy security by automatically switching to battery power in the event of a utilities outage. Homeowners can stack up to 9 Powerwalls to store up to 90kwH.
There are huge implications for remote areas when you can power and store renewable energy using Powerwall. Musk predicts that the Powerwall will bypass electric power lines in remote areas, just as cell phones surpassed the installation of the landlines.
To meet the needs of commercial use, Musk has come up with the Tesla Powerpack, which is designed to scale infinitely. These 100kWh battery blocks can be combined to scale from 500kWh to 10MWh+. These systems are capable of 2hr or 4hr continuous net discharge power using grid tied bi-directional inverters.
The release of the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack has huge implications for the solar industry and the industry has taken notice. With 38,000 pre-orders, Tesla founder, Elon Musk acknowledged the fact that they are “basically sold out through the middle of next year.”
View the Tesla Powerwall Keynote by Elon Musk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKORsrlN-2k