Tesla Energy reveals their most ambitious project yet: the Powerwall is a battery system that can create micro-grids, power homes and businesses, and ultimately combat climate change. They call it an “infinitely scalable” system and could change the way we do energy forever.
Tesla has finally taken the wraps off Tesla Energy, its ambitious battery system that can work for homes, businesses, and even utilities. The system breaks down into two separate products: the Powerwall is a home battery system, that comes in a 10 kWh version for $3,500, or a 7 kWh model for $3,000. The unit is about three feet by four feet in size and six inches thick, and comes with integrated heat management and can fit either on the inside or outside of the wall of your home. The system is connected to the internet — Elon Musk said that the system can be used to create “smart microgrids” — and can be used as a redundancy system, or potentially allow a home to go off the power grid entirely. “The whole thing is a system that just works,” Musk told reporters during a briefing this evening…
…Musk’s ambitions with the battery are tremendous. He opened the press event by invoking climate change, and saying that it’s “within the power of humanity” to change the way we produce and use power. He went on to say that he sees the Gigafactory under construction in Nevada as a product, the first of many. With 160 million Powerpacks, we could power the United States, he said, and with 2 billion, the world. The entire presentation and party, Musk said, was powered by stored solar energy.
While the system is being announced today, Powerwall has been testing for a year, and has already been on sale to select customers. For the Powerpack system, Tesla will start taking orders later this year and then really ramp up production as Tesla’s battery-building Gigafactory comes online.
Tesla has been teasing the new system for months now, with Elon Musk casually referencing it on a call with investors last February and then hyping the new product line directly on Twitter last month. Tesla’s invite for today’s event was entitled “The Missing Piece,” and it many ways that’s what Tesla Energy is for the company’s electric cars. Charging an electric vehicle at home can be expensive, and while solar power offers a way to reduce those costs when the sun goes down owners have had no choice to charge their vehicles with power from the grid. A robust home battery system like Powerwall could allow owners to store that solar-generated power during the day even if they’re away, and then use it to charge their vehicle at night. Batteries can absorb surplus power and flow it back into the grid when needed, evening out supply and demand, something called load shifting. But the implications for Tesla’s own cars is just the beginning.