The Tesla House Battery and What it Can Do For You
Heralded as “the house battery,” Tesla’s Powerwall is the future realized. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, was extremely excited when he first introduced his Holy Grail of batteries this April. “But,” you might ask, “why is that? What makes the Powerwall so much better then any other lithium-ion battery?” To answer both questions, it’s important to understand the thinking behind the man; answering the first question will enlighten the answer to the second.
Photo Credit: Tesla
Elon Musk, Tesla Motors, and the Sun
To put it simply, Elon Musk is a shrewd business man, but he is first and foremost a visionary, who has worked very hard to hurry the rest of the world along as it steadily crawls toward embracing sustainable energy, and a greener world in general. Musk is so determined, he actually released a great number of Tesla Motors patents to secure a deal that is putting innumerable charging stations all over this country, and around the globe–giving the electric car owner a huge jump start to traveling freedom. Like many of us, Musk envisions a world powered by the free–and clean–energy of the sun.
The Missing Link
Elon Musk said it best when he referred to the Powerwall as the “missing link” in solar energy. Before the advent of Tesla Energy and the Powerwall, battery systems for homes and other buildings harnessing solar energy have been mediocre at best. In the ancient days of solar power, pioneers used up to twenty or more car batteries to store the power collected from solar panels. Inverter boxes were also bulky, and took up a lot of room. Things have improved greatly since then, but batteries have still failed to store energy efficiently, keeping most solar power advocates locked to the grid–until now.
Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation
The Tesla house battery stores energy so efficiently, anyone using one can totally disconnect from the grid altogether! This was the whole idea behind solar power in the first place. Long before the robber barons of the early 20th century started force feeding the world with coal and oil, homes were self sufficient. If a family owned land, they could harvest wood to burn, etc. In other words, there was no such thing as a utility bill. The Powerwall battery makes this possible again.
What the Powerwall Can Do For You
The Tesla house battery–officially called the Powerwall Home Battery–starts at a ludicrously low price of just $3,000 for 7kWh, while the bigger model, which pushes ten kilowatt hours of energy, only costs an extra five hundred bucks. That’s ten thousand watt hours (3.6 megajoules), a phenomenal rate for one lithium-ion battery.
But what’s really cool is the fact that this home battery unit is mounted vertically on a wall, looks like some ambiguous, futuristic sculpture–that just happens to come in a variety of colors–would look equally great in your garage or living room, and can be mounted outdoors or in. It takes up no more space than a traditionally sized painting, and looks incredibly artistic, anyway. Say “good bye” to a room or shed full of bulky batteries, and say “hello” to the kind of style we expect from the company that makes the coolest electric cars ever.
Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce
These batteries, which just happen to be a re-designed Tesla “S” electric car battery, are also stackable–that is, they not only fit together neatly, but up to 9 batteries can be combined, for a total of 90kWh, which would be way more than your household could possibly need. In fact, the Tesla house battery is easily upscaled to fit bigger power needs, like those required by large buildings, factories, etc.
While the Powerwall normally charges using solar power, it can be integrated into regular power grids, allowing both solar users and non-solar users alike to have options as from where they prefer to draw power. And the battery charges using smart technology, allowing you to choose low rate periods when electricity is cheaper. Whether you are utilizing solar power or not, the Tesla house battery gives you plenty of back up during a power outage, or when the weather makes it difficult to harness solar energy.
The Coolest Part of All
Elon Musk says that the Powerwall, or the Tesla house battery, if you prefer, is going to be plugged into the internet, to jump start local smart grids. Along with this out-of-the-box thinking, Tesla Energy is lining up a number of installation partners–Solar Edge, Treehouse, and Green Mountain Power–who will lease the Powerwall, saving you the initial three grand. Musk claims the battery that cranks out a continuous 2kW of power can be installed in under an hour.
The CEO of Tesla goes on to state that 160 million battery units is all it would take to “transition” power usage in America to renewable, sustainable energy. He claims that 900 million Tesla house batteries could negate the entire world’s dependency upon fossil fuels. “It is not impossible,” Musk said at the unveiling of Tesla Energy, “it is something that we can do” The visionary has spoken, and he has given you and me the missing link–the Tesla house battery–that will fill the divide separating the world from practical clean energy. That’s cool.