Tesla has announced its home battery system at the Hawthorne Design Studio, named Tesla Energy. It is a new effort to decentralise the power grid, by offering a way to store energy both locally and from the power grid in off peak hours.
The Powerwall is a home battery system, capable of fitting onto a wall inside or outside a home. It comes with two options, $3,000 for 7 kWh or $3,500 for 10 kWh. It will allow homeowners to store energy for blackouts, or allow them to charge their electric car.
If the homeowner also owns solar panels, the Powerwall will be capable of creating a “microgrid”, removing it from the power grid entirely if it already generates enough energy in the day. It can then turn back to off-peak hours for additional energy for the home.
This is one of the first major disturbances in the power grid, allowing homeowners to live mostly off renewable energy. Enough solar panels on a house should mean peak hours are no longer a problem, provided it is almost always sunny, which is bad news for UK residents.
Luckily for UK residents we’re starting to see the adoption of mini wind turbines for homes, and it is almost always windy in the UK. Tesla has not stated if Tesla Energy will be available outside of the US, but hopefully we will see a rollout sometime in the near future.
Tesla has partnered with SolarCity to provide a Powerwall with every solar panel, allowing customers to enjoy the cheap cost of energy or leave the grid entirely. Elon Musk is the chairman of SolarCity and his cousin Lyndon Rive is the CEO - it’s clear why Musk chose SolarCity as its partner.
It is not all about homes, Tesla Energy will also launch something called the Powerpack, for businesses, utilities and industry. It will feature a 100 kWh block, ten times the energy available on the Powerwall, which can scale to 10 MWh, for extreme cases.
This is already being used in some establishments like Wal-Mart according to leaks, allowing them to save money on energy bills for retail stores. Tesla did not detail the price of the Powerpack at the event, although we suspect it costs a lot more than the Powerwall.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk continued to say this was close to becoming a reality "This is a feasible thing," he said. "It’s very important to appreciate that." Clearly, Musk thinks the technology is here, now all we need is the adoption.