Elon Musk just made green energy the latest trend among homeowners. While it might be a few years before we see a Hyperloop transporting commuters around LA, Musk’s latest bright idea, the Tesla Motors Powerwall Battery, is heading for thousands of homes this summer.
The residential and commercial battery packs act as energy storage for both on and off-grid sources, able to charge when energy from the grid is cheapest by avoiding peak hours. That alone can save the average household about a quarter on electricity bills. This hastens the pay-back period for buyers of the batteries to just under five years. A Powerwall ranges in price from small residential units around $3,000 to $25,000 business systems with pricing reportedly set at about $250 per kilowatt-hour per system. Lessening the burden on the grid during peak hours will facilitate integration of renewable power sources, and for the buyer who has their own renewable power source like through the SolarCity-partnered Turnkey system, the Powerwall can more easily take them off the grid entirely. They also replace generators as a back-up system for storms and outages and are expected to slowly bring down the cost of batteries.
Still unconvinced of the Powerwall’s pros? Ask one of the 20-or-so thousand people who reserved them.
Since the Powerwall’s unveiling on April 30th, the battery has been met by tremendous demand. Requests in the first few weeks amount to about 38,000 and $800 million in total reservations, with each reservation averaging 1.5 to two batteries. That’s in the ballpark of Tesla’s current revenue from their electric cars annually. The products are expected to begin shipping this summer, and while reservations do not necessarily mean sales, there is no doubt both residential and commercial sectors have been waiting for something like it. Among the reservations are also calls from big companies like Amazon and Target, who are planning to install 100 kilowatt-hour battery blocks called PowerPacks. It’s currently projected the batteries will be sold out through the middle of 2016, even with the Tesla gigafactory under construction in Nevada. Musk states the current demand for the batteries could use the entire capacity of the 50GWh factory. If Musk is to roll out an economy Tesla model in the next few years, he’ll likely need another—or at least bigger—factory.
Get ready, get set, charge!