BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 01 May '15

Elon Musk unveils battery that lets homes run on solar

At a press conference last night (run entirely on solar energy), Elon Musk announced a new string to Tesla’s bow: Tesla Energy, a new arm to the electric car company’s operations, will help move the electricity grid off fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.

Tesla Energy will offer a range of batteries – for homes, businesses and utilities – that Musk believes will help wean the world off fossil fuels.

Homes, business, and utilities will be able to store sustainable and renewable energy in batteries that manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience.

Tesla’s case for renewables

The world currently consumes 20 trillion kWh of energy annually – enough energy to power a single family home for 1.8 billion years or supply energy to a nuclear power plant for 2,300 years (or launch the Falcon 9 rocket seventeen million times).

Of all the fossil fuel consumed in the US, one third is used in transportation and another third goes to electricity production. The US electric power sector alone produces over 2,000 million metric tons of CO2, which is like burning 225 billion gallons of gas.

The EPA says it would require 1.6 billion acres of US forest to negate the environmental damage.

Once we’re able to rely on renewable energy sources for our power consumption, the top 50% of the dirtiest power generation resources could retire early. We would have a cleaner, smaller and more resilient energy grid.

The Powerwall

The Tesla Powerwall home battery is Tesla Energy’s first product. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening.

The Powerwall also fortifies your home against power cuts by providing a backup electricity supply.

Balancing supply and demand

The average home uses more electricity in the morning and evening than during the day when solar energy is plentiful. Without a home battery, excess solar energy is often sold to the power company and purchased back in the evening.

This mismatch adds demand on power plants and increases carbon emissions. Powerwall bridges this gap between renewable energy supply and demand by making your home’s solar energy available to you when you need it.

The battery

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 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.

The 10kWh weekly cycle version ($3,500) is optimised to provide backup when the grid goes down and the 7kWh daily cycle model ($3,000) has been optimised for daily use. Both are guaranteed for 10 years.

The Powerwall is available now for pre-order in the US, with deliveries expected in late summer.

To find out more about the Powerwall and Tesla Energy, visit teslamotors.com.