Our favorite billionaire rocketeer… no, not Iron Man… the other one, Elon Musk, has unveiled Powerwall which is a home battery system. Like the battery system that drives your Tesla, this battery system will “drive” your home – electrically.
And plugging into the sun of course…
There are compelling environmental reasons to want to stop getting electricity the way we do now. Of all the fossil fuel consumed in the United States, one third goes to electricity production. The US electric power sector produces 2,000 million metric tons of CO2 – just the same CO2 we would get burning 225 billion gallons of gas! Not sustainable!
The Tesla plan is to replace our current grid system with millions of small personalized power plants made of solar panel on roofs and batteries (Powerwalls) in garages.
Those power plants will hang on your wall and best of all come in different colors! If you had a black Tesla for example, you might want a white Powerwall. Voila!
For those involved in the Powerwall test program, the main benefit right now is reliability and as a backup. But the current home version is capable of running critical home appliances like lights and refrigeration and can be recharged by solar panels during the day. So the expectation is that the Powerwall will start replacing grid supplied power.
There is also an industrial version called Powerpack. It appears some heavyweights like Amazon and Microsoft and even the Southern California electric monopoly are playing around with the Powerpacks. [Are you sure that’s not what Iron Man calls that furnace burning in his chest?]
The basic 7-kWh Powerwall system starts at $3,000 while the 10-kWh model is $3,500. A writer for Forbes thinks the 10 kwh system could supply 1,000 watts of current to your home for 10 hours. If you’ve got the real estate, Tesla says connect ten of them for a 90-kWh home energy solution.
Elon Musk is thinking global. Rural electricity in the remotest savannahs of Africa could leapfrog the transmission line era with massive installations of solar panels and Powerwalls. Much like the smartphone helped third world people skip POTS (think Bell Tel).
First deliveries are predicted as soon as this summer. Just imagine, a house running on a Powerwall and self-regulated by Next. You would be living in the future!
The Legendary Car Guy finds himself back living partly off the grid. He doesn’t particularly recommend it for comfort and safety but he hasn’t the choice now.