Elon Musk just revealed something that will change everything

Elon Musk just revealed something that will change everything: Renewable electric energy is well-set to be the future, with fossil fuels drying up and nuclear energy being limited to small-scale deployments. They had been on the agenda for a very long time but development never properly picked up, until very recently.

Climate change is well on the path to turning our whole world upside down. Elon Musk being an environmentalist visionary came at the right time, with the success Tesla achieved in making electric vehicles on par with combustion engine cars. But Tesla has been cooking up something else that could be more important. What could it be?

Tesla Energy’s Tesla Powerwall is a stationary home energy storage solution with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Solar self-consumption, time-of-use load shifting, and backup power are all possible with the Powerwall. The Powerwall was first released in 2015, with only a small number of units produced.

Tesla’s Giga Nevada project began mass production in early 2017. Tesla has built 200,000 Powerwalls as of May 2021. Tesla Energy also offers two larger battery energy storage devices: the Powerpack, which is designed for commercial use, and the Megapack, which is designed for use on the power grid.

Tesla, Inc. began experimenting with employing batteries for energy storage as it developed batteries for its electric car business. Tesla began installing prototype battery packs, later dubbed Powerpacks, to the locations of select industrial customers, such as winemakers, in 2012.

On April 30, 2015, the company stated that it would use its technology to create the Powerwall, a residential energy storage device. Customers would be able to use the device to store electricity for solar self-consumption, load shifting, and backup power.

The device was originally expected to have a continuous power output of 2 kW and a peak of 3.3 kW, but CEO Elon Musk revealed at the Tesla shareholders meeting in June 2015 that it will be more than doubled to 5 kW steady and 7 kW peak, with no price increase.

When the Powerwall was first introduced in 2015, two variants were planned: one with a capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) for backup applications and another with a capacity of 7 kWh for daily cycle applications. By March 2016, however, Tesla had “quietly removed all references to its 10-kilowatt-hour residential battery from the Powerwall website, as well as the company’s press kit.

The company’s smaller battery designed for daily cycling is all that remains.” The 10 kWh battery had a nickel-cobalt-aluminum cathode and was intended to be used as a backup/uninterruptible power source with a cycle life of 1000–1500 cycles when it was first disclosed.

During 2015, 500 pilot units were constructed and deployed, each one at the Tesla Fremont Factory. In the first quarter of 2016, the Giga Nevada factory began limited manufacturing of Powerwalls and Powerpacks utilizing battery cells produced elsewhere and commenced mass production of cells in January 2017.

In October 2016, Tesla released an enhanced Powerwall 2 with a 13.5 kWh capacity and the ability to supply 5 kW of continuous power and up to 7 kW of peak power in short bursts (up to 10 seconds). Later versions of the Powerwall 2, which began shipping after November 2020, have the same capacity but can produce up to 10.8 kW of peak power.

The Powerwall+, which was released in April 2021, combines the functionality of a Powerwall 2, a Backup Gateway, and a solar inverter into one device. To increase the system’s capacity and maximum power, up to ten Powerwall 2 or Powerwall+ units can be combined. So what are its use possibilities?

The Powerwall is designed to be used on a daily basis, such as for load shifting. Tesla’s packing and cooling of cells in packs with liquid coolant is done using patented technologies. The daily cycle consumes 7 kWh.

The Powerwall 1 battery is made of nickel, manganese, and cobalt, and it may be cycled 5,000 times before the guarantee expires. While charged or discharged by a 400–450 V system at 2 kW at a temperature of 77 °F (25 °C) when the device is brand new, the Powerwall has a 92.5 percent round-trip efficiency.

The age of the product, temperatures above or below 77 °F (25 °C), and charge or discharge rates greater than 2 kW all reduce this efficiency value, lowering system performance. In 2016, the National Fire Protection Association ran two worst-case scenario tests, burning Powerpacks and causing thermal runaway. The Powerwall constructions were not damaged as a result of the design.

When the 750 megawatts (MW) Kogan Creek Power Station in Queensland tripped in October 2019, system frequency dropped, and hundreds of Powerwalls in South Australia worked together to create a virtual power plant that helped keep the system running.

Powerwalls were offered to companies like SolarCity and OUXO Energy for installation as of May 2015. SolarCity was testing 10 kWh battery packs in 500 California homes as part of a pilot project. Peck Electric Company teamed up with Green Mountain Power in Vermont in 2016 to install hundreds of Powerwalls in houses as part of a distributed storage pilot initiative.

Powerwall 2 is valued at 0.23 Australian dollars each warranted cumulative kWh released, according to market analysis. According to a May 2015 Forbes article, using a Tesla Powerwall 1 model in conjunction with solar panels in a home would cost 30 cents per kWh of electricity if the residence remained connected to the grid (the article acknowledges that the Tesla battery could make economic sense in applications that are entirely off-grid.

On average, consumers in the United States paid 12.5 cents per kWh for electricity from the power grid. The Tesla method, according to Bloomberg and Catalytic Engineering, is especially effective in areas with high electricity rates.

However, there are a few places like Hawaii and other distant islands that use fuels that are transported in or flown in to create electricity. Residential PG&E customers in California can pay as much as 40 cents per kWh if their power usage reaches Tier 3.

Residential California time-of-use (TOU) pricing in 2021 might cost roughly 12 cents/kWh during off-peak hours (in one PGE plan, 12am-3pm) and 52 cents/kWh during peak hours (4-9pm). When set up for cost savings, the Powerwall may go off the grid from 4 to 9 p.m., delivering 100 percent of solar energy to the grid and avoiding any peak demand.

Due to the lack of sunlight in the winter, the Arctic and sub-Arctic sites with high energy prices are unable to create enough solar energy, however. The Powerwall, according to UBS, makes sense in Australia and Germany, where electricity is expensive and solar panels are widely available.

In the United States, the Tesla Powerwall 2 costs $14,600 for two units (plus $2,500 to $4,500 for installation) as of October 2019; this price does not include the cost of solar panels.

Many other firms have started producing home battery backup products since Tesla released the Powerwall, particularly companies that compete with Tesla Energy in the sale of photovoltaic solar energy generation systems.

Enphase Energy, LG Chem, and Tesla are the three businesses that dominate the battery energy storage market. In 2021, these three brands accounted for around 85% of total sales. The Enphase battery is supplied alongside the company’s solar micro-inverters, which use small modules beneath each panel to convert DC electricity generated by solar panels into AC power as part of a comprehensive AC-based home energy system.

At nearly 50% more than Tesla’s Powerwall, the system is now the most costly residential battery offering. Despite the significant price disparity, Enphase overtook Tesla as the leading provider of home energy storage systems in 2021. That proves that while Tesla’s design is potent and promising, there is no shortage of competitors coming to take their crown and beat them at their own game.

Currently, it seems that the Powerwall is not on Tesla’s top priority lists as they are focused on getting the new Roadster to production, as well as designing a cheaper EV option than the Model 3. Even then, one must remember that the Powerwall’s technology patent is open to all.

Perhaps competition in this sector is something Tesla simply doesn’t want to dominate. Either way, we believe the future for renewable clean energy is bright.


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