Energy Storage Systems will be the crucial segment for the renewable energy industry, so expected widely. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, has unveiled the company’s latest product line, Powerwall and Powerpack lithium-ion batteries, under the Tesla Energy brand.
|The Tesla EV and Powerwall (Source: Tesla Energy)|
Powerwall is a battery especially designed for residential use. With storage capacities of 7kWh and 10kWh, Powerwall can be simply hanged on a wall or be installed within a house’s structure. The prices are respectively US$3,000 and US$ 3,500. Powerpack, on the other hand, is a utility-scale energy storage battery with a price at US$25,000 for every 100kWh set. These products are guaranteed for 10 years.
The mainstream Japanese energy storage systems cost approximately US$600 per kWh. Tesla’s batteries cost almost 60% lower than usual products, making them extremely price competitive in the battery market.
The Missing Piece of Renewable Energy
Musk started with a target to reduce the carbon emission for a better future at the press conference, and he depicted a future that uses solar power as one of the main energy resources. To accomplish this target, we have to use solar power at the best efficiency.
|Mismatch between demadn and solar generation. (Source: Tesla Energy)|
A battery can store solar energy generated during the day for people to use in the morning and evening -- The mismatch between the peak of solar power generation and the peak of power consumption is “the missing piece” for a good battery to bridge. However, “the issue of existing batteries is that they suck,” said Musk. Current batteries are usually expensive, unreliable, poor integration and poor lifetime, with lower efficiency. Moreover, they are not scalable so that they can’t be applied to large-scale renewable power plants.
So here comes Powerwall and Powerpack, revolutionary products under Tesla Energy brand.
The Powerwall battery inherits Tesla’s automotive battery technology with five colors for customers to choose from. The batteries have integrated safety system, thermal control, DC-to-DC converter and other key technologies for global and portal use. It can combine with solar panels for off-grid use as well.
The most attractive feature, as well as the most important one, of Powerwall and Powerpack is their scalability. Multiple Powerwall batteries can be installed together for homes with greater energy consumption, up to 90kWh total for the 10kWh battery and 63kWh total for the 7kWh battery. (you can install up to 9 Powerwall batteries together) What’s more, the combined Powerpack batteries could reach 500kWh, 50MWh, or up to GWh-scale -- they are scalable. Tesla’s new energy storage solution does not only bridge the missing piece of renewable energy industry, but also offers a promising answer to how to use as mush renewable resources as possible.
“With 160 million Powerpacks, we could power the United States,” pointed out Musk at the event. “And 2 billion ones would be enough to transition the entire world onto renewable electricity, including enough power to support the transition from fossil-fueled transportation to electric vehicles.”
2 billion sounds crazy, yet in fact, the number roughly equals to the number of current vehicles on the globe.
|The future with lower carbon -- almost zero -- emission depicted by Musk with his batteries. (Screenshots of video of the press conference event.)|
With the Tesla EV, Powerwall/Powerpack battery and SolarCity business, Elon Musk pictures a future that reduced CO2 emission. The business model moves forward to a complete, integrated energy solution.
“That’s the future we should have. We must do, we can do, and we will do,” said Musk. He amazingly showed the power meter in the venue – the event was completely powered by Powerpack batteries charged by solar panels installed atop the building. The event was actually a grid-independent event.
|The power meter at the event. (screenshot of video of the press conference event.)|
Tesla has tested sets of Powerwall batteries with some of SolarCity’s customers. After the official debut, people who are interested in the batteries can order them on Tesla’s website, teslaenergy.com. The products are scheduled to be shipped in three to four months later. Some components will be made in the GIGAFACTORY.
GIGAFACTORY is a giant battery manufacturing facility co-functioned by Tesla and Panasonic. As EnergyTrend learns, the GIGAFACTORY is scheduled to be complete in 2016 and then starts massive production. Tesla might make Powerwall and Powerpacks cooperating with certain Japanese and South Korean battery companies at the moment, and gradually transitions to 100% GIGAFACTORY-made after the facility is completed.
The lowering fossil fuel prices in recent months impact sales of Tesla EVs. This could be an explanation to why Powerwall and Powerpack are unveiled ahead of GIGAFACTORY’s complement. The world’s demand to energy storage systems will soar in recent years as more renewable energy capacities are interconnected or adopted by off-grid users.