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Tesla announces gigawatt-scaling commercial battery and a home battery system for US$3,500

Lucas Mearian | May 4, 2015
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.

The consumer-grade Powerwall battery system comes in multiple colors and has a sculpted and slim profile - protruding just 7.5-in from a wall. The unit can be mounted inside or outside.

The Powerwall is about 51-in. x 34-in. x 7.5-in. in size, and comes in either 7kWh or 10kWh capacities. The battery can provide 2kW of continuous power and has a peak power rating of 3kW. It comes with a 10-year warranty.

Up to nine Powerwall battery units can be daisy-chained together on a wall to provide up to 90kWh of power.

The average U.S. household uses about 20 kWh to 25 kWh of power every day, according to GTM Research.

Tesla announced last year that it partnered with Panasonic to make its lithium-ion batteries in what it calls "Gigafactories," the first one of which is under construction in Reno, Nevada.

Ravi Manghani, a senior vice president at GTM Research, said the energy storage market is expected to grow at a "frantic pace" as policymakers and market operators continue to identify opportunities and costs keep coming down.

And, the entry of a well-known carmaker into the energy storage space will likely spur commercial and consumer interest in the market.

"Residential and commercial customers that were either unaware of or uninterested in energy storage, are more likely to look into energy storage, Manghani said.

SolarCity will also sell the Tesla battery systems. The Powerwall is 60% less expensive than a previous home battery product it had sold, the company said.

For businesses and government organizations, SolarCity will incorporate the new Tesla battery into its DemandLogic energy storage system, which combines an AC to DC converter and power management software that automates the discharge of stored energy to optimize savings on utility demand charges for customers.

"Using Tesla's suite of batteries for homes and businesses, SolarCity's fully installed battery and solar system costs are one-third of what they were a year ago," the company stated in a blog post. "We expect costs to continue to decline as manufacturing scales, and over the next 5-10 years, these cost reductions will make it feasible to deploy a battery by default with all of our solar power systems."

SolarCity will begin taking orders for the new energy storage systems today and expects to begin installations in October.

The global energy storage market is expected to reach $50 billion by the year 2020, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 8% over the next five years, according to Lux Research.

Batteries in consumer electronics and electric vehicles represent the lion's share of the energy storage market. Residential energy storage systems will reach $1.2 billion by 2020, Lux stated.


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