The Tesla Powerwall, also known as “Tesla home battery,” has been unveiled today by Tesla Motors at their Hawthorne studio.
The main idea behind the Powerwall is closely connected to the smart grid concept and solar panels. For those who don’t know, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is also on the board of Solar City, which happens to be the most successful consumer-oriented solar power company in the US and the world.
Because the solar panels on your home produce more energy at noon, when the sun in shining, and you don’t actually consume very much energy at that time of day, the excess power is sold to the grid and re-purchased in the evening, when consumption is high.
This increases the load on power lines and the utility company, which translates into higher carbon emission levels and decreased efficiency due to power line losses.
Moreover, the power company re-sells you the energy your solar panels put into the grid at a higher price during peak evening hours. Having a Tesla Powerwall in your home will surely prevent that from happening.
During power outages, your home will be lit and functional, because of your Powerwall – it happened many times in the past, and will happen in the future, too.
Tesla used the same battery technology as in their Model S, so you won’t have to worry about how you charge them, whether they can catch fire or not, whether they can hold a charge for a while or not, as it happens with other shady manufacturers or home-made solutions. The Powerwall has a 10-year warranty, which says a lot about Tesla’s other packs, battery quality and future trends.
The maximum energy the Powerwall can supply is currently limited at around 2 kW, with peaks of 3 kW. The thing is heavy – at 220 lbs (100 kg) is has to be mounted on firm walls by trained and capable technicians.
The Powerwall can be purchased in two sizes: 7 kWh and 10 kWh for $3,000 and $3,500, respectively. The price difference doesn’t quite justify the storage capacity difference, so I think Tesla is testing waters with this initial offer, just like they did with the 40 kWh Model S in 2012, which they replaced for a 60 kWh one, for the same price. They’ll probably end up selling a 15 kWh pack next year for $4,000, which would be pretty cool.
Tesla will begin shipping the Powerwall this summer, and is already accepting orders.