Tesla Motors last night announced a new line of commercial and residential-grade batteries for storing electricity on site and to supplement power from the grid.
While the news was expected after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about the announcement last week, what did come as a surprise was the price: $3,500 for the new 10 kilowatt hour (kWh) Tesla Powerwall.
A smaller 7kWh Powerwall is also available for $3,000. The prices do not include an AC to DC power inverter and system installation.
"The fact that this is wall-mounted is vital, because it means you don't have to have a battery room... filled with nasty batteries. It means a normal household can mount this in their garage or on the outside wall of their house and it doesn't take up any room," he said. "It's designed to work very well with solar systems right out of the box."
During a press conference at Tesla's design studios in Hawthorne, Calif., Musk also announced Tesla Energy, the company that will produce both residential and commercial-grade battery systems.
Tesla Energy's new commercial-grade battery is called the Powerpack, and will sell in 100kWh modules for $25,000 each. Musk said the Powerpack can scale infinitely, even powering small cities.
"You can quickly make this into a gigawatt hour solution," Musk said. "We already have one utility that wants to do a 250 megawatt (mW) installation just using the Powerpack."
Combined with a relatively small number of solar panels, most on rooftops, battery systems could enable the world to eliminate its dependency on fossil fuel-generated electricity, Musk said.
"We have the handy fusion reactor in the sky called the sun. You don't have to do anything. It shows up every day and produces ridiculous amounts of power," Musk said.
For power backup or daily use
The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized for backup applications and the 7kWh battery is manufactured for daily use applications. Both can be connected to rooftop solar panels or the grid and both can provide backup power.
"It addresses all the needs. It gives you peace of mind, so if there's a cut in utilities you'll always have power, particularly if you're in a place that's very cold," Musk said. "You can actually go completely off grid. You can take your solar panels, charge the battery packs and that's all you use."
The battery systems can now be ordered on Tesla Motors' website and units will begin shipping in three to four months, Musk said. Musk, who is also chairman of SolarCity, the largest installer of residential solar power systems in the U.S., said price will be key to widespread adoption.
Previous estimates by industry pundits had pegged a wall-mountable battery system from Tesla with 10kWh of storage capacity at $13,000 or more.
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