Tesla have been forging a path for greater automotive responsibility since they first arrived in the car industry in 2003. Developing a number of luxury cars powered by electric motors, Tesla have been the vehicle of choice for the indulgent yet environmentally conscious motorist.
Not satisfied with cleaning up our roads, Tesla are now taking aim at your house- and the Powerwall be their tool.
Making Solar Sensible
Whatever your individual standpoint on global warming and its validity as a scientific phenomenon, society clearly has a problem. Fossil fuels are finite source. One day, the tap will run dry. Tesla are exploring alternative, renewable energy sources- namely solar. Their new product, the Powerwall, is hoping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and maybe save the consumer some cash along the way.
The Powerwall is a 51.2”, wall-mountable lithium ion battery designed to power homes and businesses when demand is at its highest. Tesla have identified a series of issues currently hampering one of the cleanest renewable energy sources out there, solar, and hope the Powerwall will be clean energy’s eureka moment. When pondering the advantages of solar energy, the general consumer is hampered by solar’s Achilles heel- its reliance on the sun. Demand for energy is high in the mornings and still higher in the evenings, missing peak solar time during the day. That block of unwanted energy is sold back to the energy provider, who then sell it back to the consumer at a time when they need it most. A less than sensible (or efficient) system.
This is where the Powerwall comes in. Suspended either inside or outside your home, the 4 foot battery collects all that previously unwanted solar energy, storing it for use when you need it the most. The battery pack also handily seconds up as a backup pack should you experience a pesky power outage. Not only is this a more efficient process, relieving our reliance on fossil fuels, it may also save you a few pennies. Energy companies charge higher rates when demand is high. Using a Powerwall, you can reduce your reliance on energy companies when demand is high, using energy that was stored from a renewable source earlier in the day.
The battery itself comes in two separate models. The 7kWh model can be used for supplementing a home’s daily energy cycle, or upgrade to the 10kWh model which is more suited as a backup application. As you might expect, the price tag attached to the Powerwall does exceed your normal 4-pack of AAAs. At $3,000 (£1919) for the 7kWh “daily cycle” model and $3,500 (£2239) for a 10kWh “backup applications” model, Tesla’s energy revolution comes with a significant initial outlay- particularly when you consider that does not include any solar panel installation. Batteries can also be stacked next to one another. For those with a greater energy need, Powerwall’s can amount to a total supply of 90kWh.
The costs are actually reducing however. Installation fees have fallen by over £1,500 from January 2012 to September 2014. Savings are estimated at an average of £800 a year for your typical household. Coupled with the extra efficiency a Powerwall could provide you, solar panels are becoming a more intriguing investment thanks to Tesla’s invention.
But wait, some words of caution must be made before you rush out and buy your Powerwall. Tesla cite that one Powerwall can deliver 2.0kW continuously and 3.3kW at its peak. They also note that one cycle on the clothes dryer amounts to 3.3 kWh per use, causing a huge draw on your Powerwall’s capacity. Given that, according to the US department of energy, a typical US household uses 30 kWs per day, the suggestion could be that a typical western household might need 2-3 Powerwall units to sustainably supplement their use.
Headed by technology giant Elon Musk, Tesla are branching out from car batteries and into the home. Judging by the initial reaction to ‘Tesla Energy’, we could soon see a Powerwall installed in homes across Britain. Pre-orders have already begun in the US, and Musk himself described the response as “overwhelming” and “crazy”. 38,000 reservations have already been made, with installations beginning in the US by third-parties over the summer. Pre-orders will begin in the UK shortly, running alongside their business-related product, the PowerPack. Sticking to the formula but offering 100kWh of energy, the PowerPack costs $25,000 (£15,935) and hopes to provide businesses with a modern, eco-friendly way to power their productivity in the future.
What are your views on the battery powered home? If the western world needs to further embrace renewable energy such as solar, does the Powerwall plug the gap? Are you now convinced of the advantages of solar energy? Let us know.