After Tesla motor's revolutionary electric cars based on lithium batteries, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla Energy - a latest business venture that is focused on ending households dependence on power grid corporations and providing revolutionary alternative of solar energy. The new innovation is called "Powerwall Home Battery".
Tesla Energy's first product "Powerwall Home Battery" a portable, affordable, highly efficient stationary battery that will power a house without the need of public power grid. Offcourse, battery is rechargeable based on lithium-ion technology like Tesla's electric car battery technology . Powerwall can be fixed on a wall. It will remove the complexities of household power sources.
In a press conference, Musk said," The issue with existing batteries is that they suck. Tesla Energy's solution is different. For one thing, the company's batteries cost $35,00 for 10kwh and $3,000 for 7kwh. They are open for pre-orders in the U.S. now; the first orders will be dispatched in late summer.
Like regular existing batteries, they can be used together - up to nine can be stacked up together to create a strong and reliable power source.
Musk said that he believes they can help people in emerging markets or remote locations 'leapfrog' the need for existing power systems, in a similar way that mobile phones have become more important than landlines in remote parts of the world.
The Tesla Powerwall will use solar power, but will also integrates with the grid; to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their own reserve. The lithium-ion technology batteries recharge in a smart way, will save money by picking low-rate periods when electricity is cheapest. It store solar energy for later or overnight and can be backup in the incident of power outage.
The ambition of this plan is to remove dirty, environmentally harmful energy - similar to space travel. Musk believes that it is possible.
Elon Musk explained that 160 million battery pack could "transition" power usage in the United States to renewable energy, while 900 million units could shift the entire world's energy needs. Then there is the potential to make the world's cars run on clean energy. This is within the reach and power of human. It is completely possible. There is need for companies to involve in this ambitious plan.
Musk mentioned that Tesla will continue its policy of open-source patents to help make it done.
Unlike to most of companies in current time, Tesla's press conference, which ran entirely on solar energy - was direct and to the point with little hyperbole.
Elon Musk's business and innovation ventures made electric cars a efficient, stylish reality, made space exploration and travel easy. The latest Powerwall product is revolutionary concept which has huge potential if Tesla can implement as planned.
Some of the Major Concerns of Battery Based Powerwall
- One of the most important concern is the disposal of millions of battery units after exhausted their charge. How can these useless batteries with chemicals be disposed without affecting environment? Especially when world is already struggling with the problem of recycling existing trash? It will increase more toxic trash and increase more problems.
- Lithium in its raw form, is highly inflammable and explosive substance when it comes into contact with air and water. Its hermetically sealed into the battery cells. Most of people never experienced a lithium-ion battery fire, but a casual internet search will reveals the history of defective batteries that catch fire. Similar to related materials like magnesium and thermite, it burns blazingly hot.
- Lead acid batteries, even deep cycle ones can only use half their storage capacity to achieve a lifespan of 10 years. Lithium batteries can be discharged up to 90% and achieve 20 years before replacement. 10kWh for $3500 is too much amount and could run a fridge all day. It will be hard to run continuously.
- The warranty period of Tesla's Powerwall battery is 10 years. Technically, lead battery also has 10 years life span. Since the lead batteries are ten 3 times cheaper than Tesla Lithium-ion batteries. It seems expensive deal when home owner is paying 3 times more for same life span with little more efficient power source.
- There is one major flaw in comparing energy consumer pricing if electricity with production cost of roof top solar. As long as you need the grid, the grid and all those most of the time idle net-management and backup capacity has to be maintained. This makes up like 70% of total cost, less than 30% is for fuel. So unless you get completely of the grid you are just pushing those grid cost to other people, when you produce solar energy.
- Getting completely of the grid in most climates would mean you need massive storage capacity because e.g. you have to save for low solar seasons, and you still would have no reliable redundant backup. The ecological burden of this solution taking into account the energy and materials needed for those batteries and equipment would be far worse than fossil fuels.
- States and local building codes will have to be changed. They state that a home has to be connected to water, power and sewage or septic if sewage is not in the area before the house can be occupied. It is in the state safety and health codes. If you are not connected to power, water etc. they will red tag the house and eventually prevent anyone from living there. In some areas, the code is not so enforced that strongly, so if got the permit to have P G and E disconnected the building, inspection department would understand. (you will need a permit to have the meter removed and power disconnected).