Tesla’s Powerwall Enables Customers to Become Their Own Power Station

Tesla's-powerwall
Jesse Remillard for Zondits, June 22, 2015. Image credit: walkerkarraa

Conditions in Australia are primed for the success of home energy storage systems due to high retail electricity costs (near $0.30USD/kWh) and the popularity of residential photovoltaic systems. Because of this, Elon Musk and his company, Tesla, are targeting Australia for the release of their new lithium-ion home battery systems, called the Powerwall.

Unlike Americans, Australians don’t have access to net metering, which allows US consumers to offset future electric consumption with excess generation from sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. By utilizing battery systems to store excess generated electricity, users can get full value from their solar PV systems and avoid cost losses due to large differences between retail and wholesale electricity prices.

Although they will be available in the US this summer, the 7kWh daily cycle and 10kWh backup power systems won’t make it to Australia until early next year. The systems, which weigh 220 pounds and are approximately 4 feet by 3 feet and 7 inches thick, are expected to cost somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 US dollars. On its website Tesla lists the cost of the battery itself as $3,000 for the daily cycle and $3,500 for the back-up power system. Their partner company, Solar City, says it will be able to install the systems in the US for about $7,000; the difference in cost is derived from the need for an ac-dc inverter and the cost of installation.

At $1,000/kWh, the systems are not groundbreaking in terms of cost, but they are pioneering in the way that they approach energy storage from the residential user’s perspective. The systems are quite attractive and easy to install, and they require no maintenance, coming with a 10-year warranty.

Some firms are estimating simple paybacks as low as 6 years for the systems in certain Australian states. In response to the anticipated demand for the systems, several other companies are ramping up to provide competition for Tesla.

While this technology is not likely to become immediately commonplace in the USA, Tesla is taking the first bold steps globally towards modern utility grids with large amounts of distributed renewable generation and the necessary supporting energy storage with its Powerwall systems.


 

Powerwall: Solar energy storage batteries ‘set to transform Australian electricity industry’

ABC News Australia, May 21, 2015

Tesla-PowerwallAustralia’s electricity industry is about to undergo a massive transformation, with the advent of cheap storage batteries for solar energy.

US billionaire Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, this month launched a lithium-ion battery called the Powerwall that is expected to sell in Australia next year for about $5,500.

Bloomberg new energy finance analyst Kobad Bhavnagri said the batteries would be “a complete game-changer”.

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