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Tesla Energy Set to Revolutionize Solar Storage for Homes, Businesses, Utilities

Image credit: Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy, the latest from Tesla Motors visionary Elon Musk, was introduced last night onstage at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, California, just south of LA.
A statement from the company describes the new development as "a suite of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities fostering a clean energy ecosystem and helping wean the world off fossil fuels."

"We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky, called the Sun," said Musk, who’s long been a proponent of solar energy, and in March announced an electric car charger that could also power homes.

There’s one sticky problem preventing a widespread switch to solar: The sun sets. Tesla has been working on a way to store solar energy gathered during the day to be used at night, but most existing battery technology “sucks,” according to Musk. However, he touts this new suite as the missing link. 

The home battery, called the "Powerwall," will store solar energy and allow customers to cache grid electricity from nonpeak periods to use during peak times, saving money. The wall-mounted gadget is available for order now and comes in a variety of colors. Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3,500 for 10kWh and $3,000 for 7kWh, but the price excludes the inverter and installation. Deliveries will begin in late summer. Additionally, the “Powerpack” is a larger version available for businesses and utilities.

"The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation," Tesla said. "The Powerwall consists of Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. The unit mounts seamlessly on a wall and is integrated with the local grid to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their own reserve."

Tesla’s partners on this technology are Amazon, Target, Southern California Edison, Jackson Family Wines and Sunrun, whose subsidiary AEE Solar will add the Powerwall Home Battery to its line of storage offerings sold for use in homes.

“We believe the next evolution of solar as a service is home solar paired with storage and we look forward to adding Tesla and its new energy storage for consumers to our extensive line of battery offerings,” said Paul Winnowski, Sunrun’s COO. “This partnership builds upon Sunrun’s approach to grow consumer adoption of home solar through a variety of channels and partners.”

Musk said that initially the Powerwall and Powerpack will be made in Tesla's Fremont factory, but as the product line scales, it will be made in the massive $5-billion Gigafactory that the company is building in Nevada.

The technology is already proving its viability. Jackson Family Wines - an early strategic collaborator in its development - already has 21 Tesla stationary storage systems in place at its Kendall-Jackson winery and others. The family-owned company expects to save approximately $2 million next year on electricity costs, reducing its electricity bill by nearly 40 percent.

“It was evident from the beginning that a collaboration with Tesla Energy would allow for further innovation within our business operations and advance our energy management strategy,” Jackson Family Wines COO Hugh Reimers said in an email to SB. “By installing Tesla’s stationary energy storage solution, Jackson Family Wines is running its facilities more efficiently, alleviating grid stress by reducing demand during peak hours and load shifting, and ultimately minimizing our operational costs. It’s exciting to be among Tesla’s first installations and to demonstrate the business viability of energy storage for wineries and other commercial organizations.”


Caitlin Kauffman is Sustainable Brands' acting Editorial Assistant. She recieved her Bachelor's in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies from CU Boulder. She has written for several publications including Sierra Magazine and O.A.R.S. As a women's health educator she… [Read more about Caitlin Kauffman]


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