Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Los Angeles (AFP) – Electric car pioneer Tesla unveiled a “home battery” Thursday which its founder Elon Musk said would help change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world.”

The Tesla Powerwall can store power from solar panels, from the electricity grid at night when it is typically cheaper, and provide a secure backup in the case of a power outage.

In theory the device, which typically would fit on the wall of a garage or inside a house, could make solar-powered homes completely independent of the traditional energy grid.

“The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world, to completely sustainable zero carbon,” Musk told reporters shortly before unveiling the Powerwall in a stylish warehouse space outside Los Angeles.

People look at newly-unveiled Tesla Powerwall batteries at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, April 30, 2015

All the power for the evening demonstration, attended by several hundred media as well as tech world participants, came from his new batteries, hooked up to solar panels on the roof, he said.

Initially the device, which will cost $3,500, will go on sale in the United States later this year. But the aim is to roll it out internationally some time next year.

Germany is seen as a key market for the product — which is about 6 inches thick, 4 feet tall and 3 feet across — because it has among the highest take-up of solar energy in the world, Musk said.

But it could also be a huge boon for under-developed regions, where power is often unreliable at best, despite abundant solar energy — and he compared the potential to that of the way cellphone technology has expanded.

“It’s analogous to the way mobile leap-frogged landlines,” Musk said.

“This is going to be really great for the poorest communities in the world,” he said. “This allows you to be completely off grid.”

Musk stressed however that moving advanced economies like America away from unsustainable fossil fuels was a key goal.

“I think we should collectively do something about this .. we have this handy fusion reactor in the sky, called the sun,” he said.

The Powerwall comes in 10 kWh weekly cycle and 7 kWh daily cycle models, both of which are guaranteed for 10 years and are sufficient to power most homes during peak evening hours.

The Tesla chief was coy when asked whether Tesla Energy would be a bigger business than Tesla Motors, for which he is best known. He dodged the question.

Last year Tesla announced the construction of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant in Nevada, a five-billion-dollar “Gigafactory” with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic.

Tesla will run operations while its Japanese partner will make battery cells destined for the plant and invest in equipment and machinery, according to a joint statement released at that time.

While Tesla produces relatively few vehicles, it has become a star in the sector due to keen demand and a reputation for high quality.

Photo: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveils large utility scale home batteries at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, April 30, 2015 (© / David McNew)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Independent1

    One more nail in the coffin of fossil fuels. As the article below says: Solar Science to soon outpace fossil fuels. And as the article predicts: It’s not a question of whether or not solar will take over supplying the vast majority of the world’s energy, the question is WHEN. I certainly hope all those people involved in fossil fuel exploration are smart enough to realize that their days are numbered – the clock is ticking down – and Tesla’s announcement today simply put one more nail in the coffin of fossil fuel energy generation.

    See this little jewel of a comment from SolarCompanies.Com for starters: The sun bestows 89 petawatts of power on the Earth every day; yet all of human civilization uses around 15 terawatts of power, or one six-thousandth as much. In other words, in just over 14 seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.

    And how about this: Photovoltaic energy already competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in a growing number of countries. Nearly 29 percent of electric capacity added in the US last year was from solar, with up to 100 percent in Massachusetts and Vermont. Last year, the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) noted that more solar had been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in the last 30 years.

    Fossil fuels are even losing the battle on price. See this: Global energy deflation is challenging the viability of oil, gas and fossil fuels. Technology will eventually drive down solar costs so that fossil based alternatives will lose their price advantage. When that happens, solar will become so attractive it will push the technology irrevocably into the mainstream. The solar momentum has already convinced the Saudis to invest more than $100 billion in 41 gigawatts of capacity, which by some estimates will satisfy as much as 30 percent of their power needs by 2030.

    For more from go here:

    Sadly, as with infrastructure such as high-speed rail, America is lagging way behind many other countries in the conversion to alternative energies. For example: A few months back, Germany actually achieved the point on one Sunday where alternative energies – mostly solar, wind and tidal produced 75% of the electricity utilized within the country. While Americans today are lucky if 5% of their power comes from alternative energies in most states.

    It’s rare that I say very much positive about red states, especially with respect to power generation, because many of them depend on coal-fired power plants which create the worst pollution imaginable – or like North Dakota, the exploration for shale oil is destroying and polluting large swaths of that state.

    However, one red states has turned into a leader for solar power, Georgia of all states. But what can I say, Kudos to Georgia for having embraced solar power generation.

    See this from Pew Charitable Trusts (some excerpts):

    The Rise of Georgia Solar

    In 2013, Georgia boasted the fastest-growing solar energy market in the U.S., adding 91 megawatts of capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The state has enough solar capacity to power 8,405 homes. From 2012 to 2013, solar industry jobs in Georgia more than tripled, rising from 800 to 2,600 — the largest percentage increase of any state.

    That growth is expected to continue, thanks to several factors: strong clean energy research programs at state institutions such as Georgia Tech, funded in part by U.S. Department of Energy grants; public-private partnerships; falling costs for renewables and strong leadership from the Georgia Public Service Commission.GPSC commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, after watching the rise of solar in Arizona, California, and elsewhere, persuaded Georgia Power to include solar energy in the utility’s 2013 integrated resource plan. “I told them, ‘We can do this as partners and get it done, or as adversaries and everyone — including ratepayers — will lose,’ ” McDonald says.

    Today, Georgia’s renewable energy industry shows yet again that what’s good for the environment can also be very good for the economy. Georgia’s clean energy sector attracted $477 million in private investment in 2013, the eighth-highest figure in the nation. Of that, $326 million went to the solar sector, a 1,025 percent increase over 2012. The state is now home to more than 140 solar companies.

    For more on Georgia solar go here:

    • 2ThinkN_Do2

      And how big is (isn’t) Germany compared to say California or Texas? It’s a country almost half the size of Texas. Who is the number ONE wind power producer in the world? The USA, ahead of little Germany. I hope Wind blows Tesla out the window . . . .

      • bobnstuff

        Wind is less reliable the solar but the battery will help even out that also. Wind like water power rely on the distribution model which isn’t very efficient but good for big business. We have wind farms near me and it’s interesting how many times I see the blades still. Solar is there every day and you can produce power from it anywhere. The problem as I see it is old technology. The battery Tesla are going to make are old technology
        and will be out of date in ten years or less.

        • 2ThinkN_Do2

          As if he cares about the battery technology being old, it’s really about the fortunes going into his bank account. Sure, he might be concerned about the environment too. Sure hope they figure out how to employ all the people who’ll need jobs when the fossil fuel industry begins collapsing. Hope battery disposal doesn’t turn into another environmental coffin nail, like spent nuclear waste or some other previously thought bright ideas. I know, they already researched it all, yeah, just like everything else they researched that ended up being not so safe.

          • Independent1

            And Fossil fuel energy that’s dooming the planet to destruction via global warming is safe how??? Not to mention burning coal for electricity that is acidifying our oceans, lakes and everything else which is killing marine life around the globe is safe how?

          • bobnstuff

            Solar already employees more people then coal. Coal jobs are going away no matter what Tesla does. Making batteries has to be a better life then coal mining. Coal employees 1/10th of the people working for Walmart as it is and thenumber is going down every year.

      • Independent1

        I guess I’m confused. What does the fact that Germany is about 1/2 the size of Texas (about the size of Montana), have to do with the fact that Germany now gets over 70% of its electricity from renewable resources, while Texas gets less than 20% of its electricity from renewables?? What does size have to do with a government deciding to focus on renewable energy sources???

        Keep in mind here, that more than 1/2 of Germany is further north than any state in America (and yet gets 50% of its energy needs today from Solar), while Texas is ranked as the having the 2nd best location of any state in America for converting to Solar energy.

        Can you explain what the size of a country has to do with anything?
        (Keep in mind that with respect to wind energy, China is #1, USA #2 and Germany #3.)

        • 2ThinkN_Do2

          The source I checked, says 25% for Germany, 12.5% USA. Typical distortion of facts is what the 70% is. In the first quarter of 2014, renewable energy sources met a record 27 percent of the country’s electricity demand (for Germany). From Climate Progress. The 70%+ was a record they set for a day.

          • bobnstuff
          • 2ThinkN_Do2

            Nice one bobnstuff, that extra 4 makes the difference, that’s what the + sign was four. Why not just say nearly 100%, round up . . .

          • Independent1

            Sorry, in June of 2014 Germany attained the level of 50% of its power needs from Solar; and it produces another 20+% from wind being the 3rd largest producer of wind power on the planet.

            See this from

            Fraunhofer ISE research institute revealed that solar panels in the eastern European country generated a record breaking 23.1 GW of electricity in one hour on June 6th. On June 9th, a national holiday, solar energy production peaked at 24.24 GW, which equalled approximately 50.6 percent of the electricity demand.

            That week was unusually hot with highs of 37 C, Rothacher attributed the warm weather and the holiday as major contributors to reaching the new record. He did state that he is confident that they will be able to break a new record every few months now: saying that his company is installing more and more photovoltaic solar panels.


        • 2ThinkN_Do2

          Still not finding China #1 in wind, USA still leads for the time being.

          • Independent1

            I have no clue where you’re looking for data. But here’s a link and notice that China has almost double the wind generated megawatts of electricity as the U.S for 2014. Checkout the table down in the article a little ways.


          • 2ThinkN_Do2

            The United States has more wind energy powering its grid than any other country in the world. Some mistakenly believe that China has become the leading producer of wind energy, surpassing the U.S. in this sector like so many others. It is true that China has more megawatts (MW) of wind turbines installed than the U.S. — over 90,000 MW to just over 60,000 MW for the US. However, a better measure is the total amount of electricity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), that each country produces from wind and delivers to customers each year. Capacity (MW) measures wind turbine production and installation, but it is the electrical energy (kWh) delivered to the grid that powers our factories, businesses and homes.

            According to recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the Global Wind Energy Council, China’s wind industry produced and delivered less than 138 billion kWh in 2013. According to the American Wind Energy Association and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the United States produced over 167 billion kWh, over 20 percent more than China. This confirms what many in the wind industry have thought for some time: that by the important measure of energy delivered to the grid, the United States is the # 1 wind energy producer in the world.

          • Independent1

            Interesting. So basically what you’re saying is – China has a lot more wind energy potential, but possibly because the Chinese are still working to pull many of their citizens from living in housing conditions similar to what America had over 100 years ago, the Chinese have for the moment created more wind generation capacity, than their citizens can use at the moment.

          • 2ThinkN_Do2

            Do they have it to use it, or just to say they have more?

          • Independent1

            it could be the latter. And some of it could also be that the bureaucrats that designed the wind power development grossly over-projected how quickly, the Chinese peons that the leadership had kept repressed for years, would be able to dig themselves out of poverty and actually get to where they could use all that wind energy.

  • Lucinda Jezzebelle Blackletter

    My God he’s got a great name.