Tesla Motors CEO Musk Announces Powerwall Battery for Home Energy Storage, Powerpack for Larger Systems.

This is not connected with LENR, but it’s on topics we discuss here often: off-grid energy production and transitioning away from fossil energy. Tesla Motors announced yesterday the Powerwall battery system designed for home energy storage to allow for cost savings, emergency power during outages, and off-grid living. Also he announced the Powerpack battery system for large scale power production.

Here’s Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk making the announcement at an event in California yesterday:

Musk said that because we have the sun — “this handy fusion reactor in the sky” — which shows up every day and produced “ridiculous amounts of power”. it is possible to move entirely away from fossil fuels, and that the amount of land surface area to make this possible is not well understood.

Musk said:

“very little land is needed to get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation in the United States . . . most of that area will be on rooftops, so there will no need to disturb land, or find new areas — it’s mostly going to be on the roofs of existing homes and buildings”

The purpose of the Powerwall battery is to store the energy that is produced during the daytime so that it can be used around the clock. If a homeowner has solar panels, it can allow a household live completely off-grid. But even those who stay connected to the grid can get the benefit of power backup in case of power cuts, and the ability to use the Powerwall’s electricity during times of peak cost from the energy grid — thus saving money. The cost of the a single Powerwall battery is $3500 for a 10 kWh unit (guaranteed for ten years), and you can stack up to nine of them together.

Musk said the Powerwall system was particularly suitable for areas of the world where there is no existing grid, or insufficient or expensive electricity availability, and that this technology would make redundant the need for installing grid systems in some remote or undeveloped parts of the world.

In addition to the Powerwall battery, Musk announced the Powerpack, which he says is “designed to scale infinitely”, where you could reach gigawatt class or higher — which would enable the powering of a small city. He said combining Powerpacks could scale to national and international levels:

  • 160 million Powerpacks would provide the whole of the United States with electricity
  • 900 million Powerpacks would provide the whole of the world with electricity
  • 2 billion Powerpacks would provide all the energy needs of the world — including transportation.

The Powerwall can be ordered right now via the Tesla website, and they will start shipping in the summer.

Elon Musk expressed a great deal of confidence in his plan, and has obvious ambition to make it all happen, and is building the facilities to produce these batteries — with the first Gigafactory which will manufacture batteries on a large scale being constructed in Nevada at the moment.

If we start thinking about LENR as a possible energy solution for homes energy production, and for replacing fossil fuels as an energy source, it will be important to look at this kind of project from Tesla and see that there are competing ideas being put into practice as we speak. The sun is of course free — but you need systems to gather and transmit that energy — along with the batteries to store it. LENR is in an embryonic stage right now, so it is impossible to predict how it will develop, and it will be interesting to see if LENR can produce power at levels that are competitive with these solar/battery sytems of Tesla.

  • greggoble

    I really like this bit of battery info from the students at the University of Oregon… Homework!

    Energy storage compared to power storage, along with important density considerations for power or energy available within.

    Energy Storage
    Why is Energy Storage Important:?

    http://homework.uoregon.edu/pub/class/hc441/bstorage.html

  • ecatworld

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/home-doesnt-matter-teslas-dream-110004068.html

    “In the U.S.—a power-hungry market with the most potential for impact—any homeowner hoping to use Musk’s batteries to gain independence from the grid is in for a surprise. For the average U.S. home to rely solely on solar panels and Tesla’s new batteries, the complete system would cost roughly $98,000, according to analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Even that glum assessment assumes a house in a sunny region such as Southern California.”

  • Sanjeev
    • pelgrim108

      Elon Musk is ecstatic about Powerwall demand – Tesla Q1 2015 Earnings call (2015) AUDIO
      youtube(dot)com/watch?v=EGHsDqwSY28

  • Albert D. Kallal

    Yes but you left out the HALF THE COST part! Solar battery systems based on lead acid are a far better choice.

    R
    Albert

  • Albert D. Kallal

    The ONLY reason why these batteries are being sold is due to excess capacity of his battery plant (for Telsa motors).

    Li-ion batters for solar storage makes VERY LITTLE sense. You can purchase lead-acid batteries for the same performance and storage ability for about HALF THE COST of the li-ion system Musk is selling.

    For laptops, or cars, such costly batteries make sense due to lightweight, but for home battery banks, only a drunken rodeo clown would consider this technology and their battery offering. The light weight aspect is null and void for home use.

    Lead acid is cheaper, better, lower cost and you can get far more capacity for the given price. I see little reason to pay about 2x for such storage where “mature” and existing systems in place are far better.

    On the other hand, stupid investors etc. don’t know this!

    Regards,
    Albert D. Kallal
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada
    [email protected]

  • http://magicmusicandmore.com/ Barry

    Couldn’t find any site progress on Google Earth. Must be old images. http://www.businessinsider.com/r-tesla-factory-near-reno-is-bet-old-nevada-will-meet-the-new–2014-10

  • http://magicmusicandmore.com/ Barry

    About the size of the state of New Hampshire.

  • http://magicmusicandmore.com/ Barry

    Reading some of your comments, a big question is longevity. I wish he took questions at the end.

  • theBuckWheat

    A big capital cost issue for utility power is that the entire system must be designed from end to end for the peak demand. Having home-based storage greatly mitigates that issue, and those with the available data should publish the implications and how that might work as a way to subsidize the retail price of these units.

    Sadly, it appears that the focus on the supply side by Musk is to use PV solar cells. Nowhere does anyone seem to care that of all generating technologies, PV solar is uniquely vulnerable to destruction. Maybe “vulnerable” is too weak a word, for every single PV solar cell in line of sight of an upper atmosphere EMP burst will instantly and totally be destroyed. Therefore it is reckless to use PV solar for anything more than just a few percent of utility power.

    PV solar cells are “EMP antennas” and cannot be protected from the effects of an EMP whereas other sources of power can be, at least to some extent.

    • Daniel Maris

      There are lots of large PV arrays now around the world. Any examples of an EMP event taking them out wholesale?

      • Robert Ellefson

        Fukushima’s defenses were built to withstand much larger tsunamis than expected, which is not an entirely unreasonable position to take, until you factor in the downside cost of being wrong. I think the OP’s concerns are reasonable, in that a system overly dependent on PV generation is at risk of a single-event catastrophic failure, with a difficult recovery process. Fortunately, cold fusion will be doing most of the generating Real Soon Now.

    • radvar

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

      Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks.[7]Telegraph pylons threw sparks.[8] Some telegraph operators could continue to send and receive messages despite having disconnected their power supplies.[9]

      Eggs, baskets…

  • Ged

    It is just a battery, but a fancy enough one to be useful in size ranges and power densities others aren’t. Still, it must be charged, and I love the link to solar.

    Main issue I foresee is that lithium batteries wear out surprisingly quick–at least the ones in phones and laptops (and most electric vehicles). I wonder how Tesla is addressing that weakness abd if they found a fix. Using this in a home as a permenant install would make me want it to last a looong time, especially if it’s tge main source of power once the sun goes down.

  • http://www.thinktankreport.com/ Phillip Power

    A bold initiative by any measure but,aside from any positive impact that LENR may have on this, a number of obvious questions occur to me at the outset:

    1) Will an area of each of these Gigafactories be set aside for 100% recycling of old powerpacks? Or would third world countries end up hosting toxic dumps full of these “world-saving miracles”?

    2) When battery technology advances so that Musk’s 2015 battery designs become obsolete, will the Gigafactories be able to seamlessly morph into producing the new, superior batteries? Even if said new designs are radically different?

    3) If Musk’s current powerpacks are based on Ni-ion and the meltdown problem is found to be unsurmountable (whether it is LENR – related or not), would that mean the largest product recall in history? And, with it, the death of a vision which is brilliant in principle but perhaps fatally flawed in practice.

    That said, don’t get me wrong: I’ve love the whole thing to be a huge success and be as much a moment in history as the full scale deployment of LENR will also be!

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    People are installing wind and solar because of subsidies and mandates, not because of the merits of solar and wind. The federal government’s own National Research Council found that wind and solar reduce CO2 emissions to such a tiny, inconsequential amount that they are not worth subsidizing. We have wasted many billions of dollars on the renewable energy fad but have nothing to show for it but bigger budget deficits, higher energy and food prices, and more unemployment. If you wish to celebrate all of that, then go ahead. Also, the promotion of wind and solar has been dishonest because advocates use numbers based on maximum energy output potential, not actual energy produced. How much solar do we get at night? How much wind energy do we get on a calm day? It’s all smoke, mirrors, and dishonest arguments. We would not even need LENR if renewables worked, but they don’t. That is why LENR is so important. Who is going to buy solar if we can have carbon free LENR electricity at 1 cent per kilowatt hour? LENR is the renewable energy fad killer.

  • Alain Samoun

    Turn on the light!

  • Daniel Maris

    It’s a great day for green energy. Feels like we might be cresting the top of the mountain and seeing the other side. We’re not there yet but it’s a nice view.

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    Solar provides 0.2% of US electric supply – http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/solar-provides-02-electric-supply-002-obama

    If all the solar cells in the world burned out tomorrow, it would hardly make a dent in the world’s energy production. You cannot argue with true believers. let the free market decide what works and what does not work. End all subsidies across the board and let consumers decide on their own what energy products to buy. People will figure out on their own that the intermittent, low energy density nature of solar makes it uneconomic. Most people buy out of economics, not wild eyed idealism. Millionaire Al Gore, who lives in several large mansions, says solar works, but the poor and middle class of the world who live paycheck to paycheck say they cannot afford it.

    • Obvious

      I worked in northern Argentina for a while, several years ago. Perhaps 10 years prior to that, or thereabouts, the government installed solar cells and batteries at hundreds of isolated and generally quite poor households, to supply power for pumping water and for limited use for things like radios. This was part of some sort of social improvement plan. After about 5 or 6 years, most of the batteries had failed, worn out, etc. Almost no one had the money to replace the batteries. So now there are all these isolated solar panels, hooked to nothing, (the batteries long since sold for lead value), looking very strange, anachronistic, next to adobe houses.

    • Doug Cutler

      “Solar provides 0.2% of US electric supply”

      Your reference is well over a year old. The renewable sector is developing fast, not hard to fall behind. Here is a more current link showing more than a doubling of solar PV since then. And that’s only counting utility solar. As most people know, there has also been an explosion of rooftop solar of late:

      “In the twelve months through February 2015, utility scale solar power generated 19.42 terawatt-hours (TWh), 0.48% of total U.S. electricity.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_the_United_States

      But its more important is to look at what’s coming. Here’s what major investment banks are saying, the likes of DEUTSCHE BANK, HSBC, BANK of AMERICA, BARCLAYS, CITIGROUP, FITCH RATINGS, GOLDMAN SACHS, MORGAN STANLEY, and UBS: http://cleantechnica.com/2015/04/16/solar-plus-storage-is-coming-to-ders-says-finance-industry/

      Excerpts:

      “Solar-plus-battery systems pose a real and present threat to traditional utility business models.”

      “A 2014 report by leading investment bank UBS noted, “Our view is that . . . developed electricity markets will be turned upside down within the next 10–20
      years, driven by solar and batteries.” UBS surmises that less-expensive
      batteries, solar PV, and electric vehicles will empower customers to
      make their own energy decisions, and effectively make traditional power
      plants irrelevant by 2025.”

      DEUTSCHE BANK echoes these findings siting inevitable price declines creating a “killer app” combination of cheap solar and cheap grid storage:

      Deutsche Bank On Why Solar Has Already Won – http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/carbon-crash-solar-dawn-deutsche-bank-on-why-solar-has-already-won-51105

      And if you think its all due to subsidies you are mistaken:

      NY Times – Renewables Start to Win on Price: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/business/energy-environment/solar-and-wind-energy-start-to-win-on-price-vs-conventional-fuels.html?_r=2

      Excerpt: “recent analyses show that even without those subsidies, alternative energies can often compete with traditional sources.”

      I wouldn’t care if commercial grade CF came in and sweep all this away. But when? Meantime . . .

      Green Dragon Ascending

  • http://magicmusicandmore.com/ Barry

    Amazing video. Clean energy is about to deliver big time. It’s not a horse race but a pony express coming from different directions.

    • Christina

      Yes!!!!

      Christina

  • GreenWin

    Carl, fortunately “those who will be controlling it.” – have limited power these days. While PTB may want to keep the meter-based centralized energy grid – there are too many alternatives. And should purported “green” organizations (Sierra, NRDC, Audubon, Algore etc.) get honest about habitat-destructive thermal solar, desert PV, on-offshore windmills, — centralized “renewable ” energy is little better than fossil/fission. Elon is introducing a practical distributed energy system for homeowners.

    Making our own electricity “Off-grid” will be no different than the transition to home refrigeration. Back then the centralized refrigeration system relied on the Ice Man. He stopped coming around 1945. 🙂

    • Carl Wilson

      I think both you and bachcole very much underestimate the “P” in PTB.

      • bachcole

        Thanks to the Internet, the so-called PTB have much less power than they did in the past. Their power was derived from their ownership of the newspapers.

  • GreenWin

    Is there supposed to be video here? Or is it just a mysterious logo?

  • GreenWin

    Elon Musk is building the infrastructure for LENR. Though he might not imagine it that way, any movement to distributed energy benefits LENR. It is a somewhat impractical and expensive system he proposes. Because the cost of PV, installation and maintenance remains high. And affordable PV efficiencies remain around 10%. And in non-sunbelt regions this is a poor investment.

    Elon is optimistic in believing home owners can afford the capital costs of rooftop PV and maintenance. But the introduction of practical distributed energy for off-grid living prepares the world for LENR. The competition for Powerwall will come from utilities desperate and smart enough to lease PV systems to customers; e.g. as PG&E is doing in California. NRG Energy and gas utilities will be marketing an alternative in the form of home-CHP, e.g. the DEKA Beacon 10 (kW) gas fired Stirling genset with battery and PV options. Powerwall storage is the precursor to micro-CHP.

    All these alternatives help build the distributed energy infrastructure. The greatest benefit is de-centralization of energy production. This means we no longer rely upon a deteriorating electric grid built on 120M wooden poles. We can stop building massive fossil/fission power plants and hydro dams. Transmitting energy great distances is unnecessary. So, we can decommission hundreds of thousands of miles of habitat destructive power lines.

    Musk’s Powerwall is an important step toward distributed energy. Teaching humans they can live energetic lives without being indentured servants to utility companies – is a good lesson. Once people understand they can make the energy they need – the evolution of LENR powered CHP systems makes perfect sense.

    Unfortunately for the old school utility consortium, this is the next step in the electric utility “Death Spiral.”

    • Daniel Maris

      NUM “Never Underestimate Musk” – let that be the lesson.

      This guy really thinks things through.

      My guess is he has worked out there are enough people out there wanting to go independent and who have the money to buy the home systems and thus generate the hundreds of millions of dollars that will provide more research effort and further reductions in costs that will drive additional expansion of the market. That’s pretty much how he is producing huge revenues through Space X.

      He will have examined all the percentages and margins in detail. He knows now is the time to go – to be ahead of the field and so reap the huge rewards on offer.

      • Mats002

        I think Musk’s concept for home is not primarily filling up the battery wall from solar or wind but from the electric car at the drive way in turn filled up at a fast loader station. Anyways – he is again going to be a lucky guy when LENR amplifies his plans.

      • Warthog

        No need to “think go independent”. Any area suffering from “rolling blackouts” is a prime candidate for installation by home-owners of this tech.

    • Carl Wilson

      Likely initial LENR will operate best as base load. Load matching a major problem for decentralized energy. In that sense Musk’s batteries will provide infrastructure.

  • Alain Samoun

    Is there any innovation in these batteries? A new technology?

    • Jarea1

      Good question. Right now i only see a powerful and well designed battery white case. XD
      But what about energy efficiency in time (does it keey the energy without looses better than others?), memory effect, duration, security,…

    • Daniel Maris

      Probably not. The Space X rocket was not “new” technology – it was just very well thought through and cost conscious technology.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      In the case of Panasonic/Tesla there is nothing that revolutionary. Just the usual slow but steady progress / improvements on the 18650 cell design. (which, so far, is mostly a cost reductions thing not a energy density improvement thing).

      here is good article on costs: http://theconversation.com/battery-costs-drop-even-faster-as-electric-car-sales-continue-to-rise-39780

      “The analysis also estimated that the industry as a whole is currently seeing annual battery cost reductions of 14%, while for leading players with already lower costs this is closer to 8%. It is therefore predicted that battery cost for all involved should converge to around US$230 per kWh in 2017-2018. This is seven years earlier than estimated in our previous analysis.”

  • James Thomas

    It may appear that in regards LENR, Elon Musk is missing the boat. But he has unquestionably established his intelligence, gumption and ingenuity. When LENR proves itself, I can easily imagine him becoming a major player in the evolutionary development and distribution. He’s no fool and appears to have a very clear vision of a healthy planet.

    • Daniel Maris

      Let LENR prove itself.

      • Warthog

        Just like “hot fusion” has done????

  • Gerard McEk

    This Powerwall in combination with a Ecat with a small steam turbine generator can be an ideal combination. The Powerwall can be used to start-up the Ecat, provide heat to your house and generate say 1-2 kW of electricity. When you need more for your washing machine of dish washer than the Powerwall will supply the excess power. Looks good to me!

  • Jarea1

    This week we had also good news about EMDrive http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/evaluating-nasas-futuristic-em-drive/ and now good news about Tesla batteries. The energy independence is becoming more and more a reality. We just need more acceptance for LENR to complete the perfect week :).

  • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

    The solar part of that scheme won’t fly without subsidies and mandates, which we need to kill off, and the pollution required to create all the batteries destroys the “green” and “carbon free” hype that goes along with solar and wind. We need LENR and smaller, cheaper, non-lithium based capacitors/batteries to help a LENR based system work effectively. The German Sunfire synthetic fuel system can be used to make clean diesel with LENR electricity, water, and atmospheric CO2 (that will destroy biofuels), and Japanese invented carbon based capacitors (or are they batteries?) can store energy for home LENR systems. The technology is coming, but I don’t think Musk’s vision is 20-20.

    • Jarea1

      Yes the main problems of the batteries of Musk is that they can contaminate a lot. All these chemicals in the batteries will be there after the life of the battery is over. I can see another new big problem coming from that view. We need a new feature for these batteries. They need to be recyclable! or at least they should not contaminate water-air-land with their waste.
      If we push for batteries then the battery should be the correct one and have a plan to the life of the product. Musk didn´t say anything about that.
      I think ECAT together with a good carbon based battery for backup will be the best solution. Even these batteries and ECAT will not compete. I think they complement each other.
      Another concern i have is about how green is the ECAT?. We still dont know much about all the materials of the home ECAT unit. Will be easy to recycle the ECAT?.
      Are the ashes dangerous if produced massively and throwed away?. I would like to know more about that. What can we do with the ECAT ashes and reactor after their life time?. They are not radioactive waste but probably they are not food supplements either.

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        Both Rossi and Defkalion have stated that almost all the materials used in their reactors are easily recyclable. Defkalion gave a specific percentage. I have forgotten exactly what it was, but I think something close to 99%.

    • EEStorFanFibb

      Fixed for you …. “Fossil fuels can’t survive without subsidies and mandates”

      and the gigafactory is going to be 100% powered by renewable energy.

      check this out. http://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/8436/Can-Tesla-Power-Its-Gigafactory-with-Renewables-Alone.aspx

      • http://renewable.50webs.com/ Christopher Calder

        Not true. Fossil fuels would exist without any subsidies or mandates because they really work. The subsidies that exist are not needed at all, and there are no fossil fuel mandates. Musk will run his factory on solar, but at what cost? Solar is not now and never will be cost effective for large scale energy production. Solar is great for pocket calculators, pool heaters, remote cabins, weather stations, etc. For large scale energy production, only hydroelectric and geothermal work as renewable energy sources. The rest are part of a false fad religion based on emotion, not on reality.

  • bfast

    Especially in the early days of LENR, this technology may be a good marriage. If LENR electricity generation is dynamically controllable, we won’t need power packs. But if LENR puts out a constant supply of electricity, we will. I see this as good for LENR, allowing for quicker roll out.

  • f sedei

    Very impressive video. Tesla really seems to have their act together. It’s good to see the competition building. The more competition, the better. Hurry up, Andrea.