Tesla is driving the charge for more renewable home energy systems with the launch of a range of batteries for homes, businesses and utilities.
The company, predominantly known for its battery-run cars, launched Tesla Energy at a special event for stakeholders, media and fans on 30th April 2015, which included a keynote speech by CEO Elon Musk. The speech, which has been praised by some bloggers as “the best keynote ever”, takes a format similar to TED or TEDx Talks, and outlines Tesla’s hope for “a fundamental transformation in how energy is delivered across the earth”.
The world currently consumes 20 trillion kWh of energy annually, and the majority of it comes from fossil fuels. Musk explains that the reality of this energy consumption is that it leads to higher levels of carbon dioxide.
“And if we do nothing, that’s where it’s heading – to levels we’ve never even seen in the fossil record.”
The implication is that the atmosphere will become so toxic that it won’t be able to sustain life at all. Musk and Tesla, however, think “we should collectively do something about this”, and have come up with one solution that uses resources already available to us in various forms.
“We have this handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun,” Musk says.
“You don’t have to do anything. It just works. It shows up everyday and produces ridiculous amounts of power.”
Solar power has been used for years, and there are many different options for people looking to supplement traditional electricity with solar electricity. The biggest problem is in storing the energy collected from the sun, which Musk says often comes down to batteries.
“The issue with existing batteries is that they suck. They’re really horrible. They look like that,” he says, showing a picture of dirty, unappealing batteries.
“They’re expensive, unreliable, stinky, ugly, bad in every way.”
His solution has been to develop Tesla Energy: a suite of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities that the company says will foster a clean energy ecosystem and help “wean the world off fossil fuels”.
Tesla Energy’s crowning jewel is the Powerwall: a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation.
The product consists of Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. It also mounts seamlessly on a wall and Tesla says it will be “integrated with the local grid to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their own reserve”.
“Tesla is not just an automotive company, it’s an energy innovation company. Tesla Energy is a critical step in this mission to enable zero emission power generation,” it says.
“With Tesla Energy, Tesla is amplifying its efforts to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy future with Tesla batteries, enabling homes, business, and utilities to store sustainable and renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience.”
Both Powerwall and Tesla Energy have just taken solar power to a new level, and the response from Musk’s audience at the launch, the blogosphere, social media, traditional news outlets and everyday people suggests the whole world is gearing up for this kind of shift to cleaner energy.
Images: screenshots from the Tesla video. Source: YouTube.