Tesla Energy revealed: Musk’s ‘extreme scale’ vision to change energy consumption forever

1 May 2015

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed Tesla Energy, an ambitious battery system that will power homes, businesses and utilities. It includes two new products, Powerwall and Powerpack.

“The obvious problem with solar power is that the sun doesn’t shine at night,” Musk said. “We need to store the energy to use at night.”

“The issue with existing batteries is they suck,” Musk said.

Musk announced the launch of two new products – the Powerwall home battery and the Powerpack scalable power block.

The Powerwall home battery increases the capacity for a household’s solar consumption, while also offering back-up functionality during grid outages. The Powerwall is available in 10kWh, optimized for backup applications, or 7kWh optimized for daily use applications. Both can be connected with solar or grid and both can provide back-up power.

The 10kWh Powerwall is optimised to provide back-up when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most. When paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar into the night when sunlight is unavailable.

Tesla’s selling price to installers is US$3,500 for 10kWh and US$3,000 for 7kWh. Price excludes inverter and installation and deliveries will begin in late summer.

Tesla is changing the way the world uses energy at an extreme scale

Tesla's new Powerwall

Tesla’s new Powerwall

Powerwall’s bigger brother is Powerpack – an energy storage system for businesses based on the power-train architecture and components of Tesla’s celebrated electric vehicles. Tesla’s energy storage allows businesses to capture the full potential of their facility’s solar arrays by storing excess generation for later use and delivering solar power at all times.

Described by Musk as an infinitely scalable system that can work for businesses, in industry and even for utility firms, the Powerpack comes in 100kWh battery blocks that can scale to 500 kWH up to 10 MWh.

“Our goal is to change the way the world uses energy at an extreme scale.”

Not just a car maker, an energy innovation powerhouse

In his usual enigmatic way, Musk said that Tesla is not just an automotive company, it is an energy innovation company.

He said that the world currently consumes 20 trillion kWh of energy annually. This is enough energy to power a single family home for 1.8 billion years or supply energy to a nuclear power plant for 2,300 years (or launch the Falcon9 rocket 17m times).

Tesla pointed out that of all the fossil fuel consumed in the US, one third is used in transportation and another third goes to electricity production.

The US electric power sector alone produces more than 2,000 million metric tons of CO2, which is like burning 225 billion gallons of gas. The EPA says it would require 1.6 billion acres of US forest to negate the environmental damage.

Musk and his colleagues at Tesla are consumed by a vision of moving the electricity grid off fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources.

They reason being that once we’re able to rely on renewable energy sources for our power consumption, the top 50pc of the dirtiest power generation resources could retire early.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years