Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is expected to uncover an innovative, industry-changing battery capable of powering entire homes, offices and utilities, latter tonight at their grand media hosting event in Hawthorne.
The company set out to solve the problem that has been baffling scientists and engineers for years and years – how to tap into solar power once the sun has set and build a cleaner future for future generations, as well as ourselves.
The answer came in the form a stationary battery capable of storing large volumes of solar and wind energy that can be used to power individual home appliances or entire living spaces. It can be used along solar panels or on its own, completely disconnect from the grid.
The inspiration for the project came from Tesla’s very own products as the mattress-shaped batteries found in Tesla’s electric cars have been turned into upright pillars better fitted for powering homes.
The stationary batteries will vary in size, ranging from the size of a small refrigerator (for homes), to several large shipping containers (for wind farms).
If handled right, it will not only revolutionize the energy industry, but it could also prove to be a massively successful secondary business for Tesla Inc. They are currently building a $5-billion “gigafactory” outside of Reno, in partnership with Panasonic, where they plan on manufacturing their new solar batteries along with their classic lithium-ion batteries (electric car batteries).
This new factory promises to reduce production costs by 30%, so that they can be more affordable for average homeowners and the visionary company can encourage people to switch to clean energy. It will have a capacity to produce 35 gigawatt hours of batteries and 50 gigawatt hours of battery packs per year.
Though some doubt Tesla’s new business venture – “It’s a little bit of a technology looking for a market”, says Cosmin Laslau, a battery analyst with Lux Research; Mateo Jaramillo, the leader of the stationary-storage project at Tesla, counters that they “see the market growing very quickly”.
Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, is also confident in the company’s investment, twitting that “for the future to be good, we need electric transport, solar power and (of course)…”, mysteriously alluring to future the project without giving any specifics.
The state of California in particular could end up being one of the first customers and biggest supporters of the technology as more than 4,300 megawatts of solar (both rooftop panels and utility-scale projects) were installed in California in 2014, the most in the nation.
Sister company SolarCity, which shares the same CEO with Tesla, already has a home-powering solar battery installed in a model home in Irvine.
The battery is attached to a wall on the side of the house and contained in a rectangular gray box. It has two lithium-ion batteries and an inverter that converts the solar electricity into usable energy. In case the power from the grid is cut off during a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, the house can run on stored power for about for a day.
Throughout the day solar electricity from the rooftop panels runs through the inverter, charging the battery, then powering the house, while smartphone apps and tablet apps are used to show how much electricity is coming into the house and how much of is is being used.
Image Source: abcnews.com