What is Powerwall?
Today brought the super exciting news of Tesla’s Powerwall! The company’s admirable mission is to enable zero emission power generation and is best known for its electric cars. However they have expanded into energy storage with the Powerwall, a rechargeable battery (lithium-ion) that you can use at home. It connects to renewable energy sources such as solar panels as well as the main grid
What are the benefits?
Firstly it can save you money over the long term by charging when demand for electricity is lower and therefore cheaper and then providing power in the morning and evening when demand is higher so you can avoid the more expensive rates. Secondly it enables you to more effectively manage your solar energy and be completely off the grid. Solar energy is most plentiful during the day when the sun is shining and you can often sell your excess energy back to the grid. However when your energy demand peaks in the evenings when the sun is down you often need to buy energy back at the more expensive rate. Likewise solar energy can struggle to meet peek demands, like heating your home on a particularly cold day. The Powerwall overcomes this by allowing you to store energy for when you need it. The third benefit is most relevant for the third world where power supply is less reliable as it can act as a back-up if there is a black out
In terms of design, it looks super sleek and mounts seamlessly on the wall. It can be installed inside or outside your home (with an operating temperature range of -20°C to 43°C) and is relatively small at H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm, a workable size for any size home or office. It also comes in several colours so you can either choose to try and camouflage it or make a design feature of it
SPECS AND PRICES
The Powerwall comes in two models: a) a 10kWh (£2,275), optimized for backup applications and b) 7kWh (£1,954) optimized for daily use applications (although both can provide backup power). Both are pretty pricey, but fingers crossed the technology will become more affordable in the near future. Either of these units should be sufficient to meet the daily energy usage of an average household in the UK. However if you require more energy, you can connect units together to meet your demand. For the techies amongst you continuous power is 2kW and peak is 3.3kW, round trip efficiency > 92% and it comes with a 10 year warranty. You can order from their website now, but they only intend to start shipping to installers in the US this summer so you may have a bit of a wait on hands in the UK
What is truly exciting is that this technology (and hopefully future cheaper versions) has the potential to change the future of energy infrastructure in the third world. In the same way mobiles have leap frogged landlines in many countries, energy storage technology could potentially leapfrog the traditional energy grid. If used with renewable energy it could be used to reach communities faster than building the traditional energy infrastructure, it also has the potential to offer cheaper and more reliable energy. Not only would this enable a better quality of life for those communities but it would reduce the future impact on the environment
A truly great win win
Check out Elon Musk debuting the Powerwall: here