Is Tesla's Powerwall the next Gen Battery?

Posted by Lisette on May 5th, 2015

© SolarCity

Solar power is on a roll, and SolTerra is excited about developments in battery systems – specifically Tesla’s new Powerwall. Last year was a record year for solar in the United States. The overall solar market grew 30 percent over 2013, and accounted for one third of all new generating capacity in the U.S.

Many people are interested in batteries, but are discouraged by the high cost of entry, maintenance over time, installation footprint, and the environmental impact of traditional deep cycle lead acid batteries.  Elon Musk’s Powerwall addresses many of these traditional shortcomings with his latest innovation – a lithium-ion based wall-mounted battery system.

One of the primary challenges of power usage is managing the timeline of production versus consumption. According to GTM Research, the behind-the-meter battery sector will make up 45 percent of the storage market before the end of the decade. A recent study by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association found that while storage remains relatively niche — the market was sized at just $128 million in 2014 — it also grew 40 percent last year, and three times as many installations are expected this yearTesla’s new battery bridges this gap.  Peak solar energy production happens in the middle of the day – often when the home is vacant.  Highest consumption takes place in the morning and evening. 

The environmental benefits are clear. Musk says, "Once we’re able to rely on renewable energy sources for our power consumption, the top 50% of the dirtiest power generation resources could retire early. We would have a cleaner, smaller, and more resilient energy grid.” According to the US Energy Information Administration, 67% of our electricity comes from fossil fuels (coal is 39%, natural gas is 27% and petroleum is 1%), and nuclear is an additional 19%! 

Some reasons to consider the Tesla solution include:
Warranty: Traditional batteries have 1-4 year warranties, depending on the product.  Tesla’s battery comes with a 10 year standard warranty, and an option for an additional ten years.
Environmental issues: Longer life cycles means less frequent disposal. U.S. production minimizes the batteries’ embodied carbon footprint, reducing stress on utility grid.
Maintenance: Traditional battery systems require annual maintenance to insure that they are performing correctly.  The Powerwall requires zero maintenance.
Space/Flexibility: Traditional batteries take up a lot of space and must be installed in a protected environment.  The Powerwall is a sleek size of 33.9”W x 51.2”H, depth of 7.1" and can be installed indoors or out with a temperature range of -4 to 110° F.

The system comes in two sizes and up to nine units can be installed together for maximum customization to a home’s power needs.  There are several color options to choose from for more seamless integration into a home. 

If you are interested in adding a Powerwall battery to an existing home solar array, or a Powerwall in conjunction with a future solar installation, we’re ready to help!


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