Friday, 1 May 2015

Tesla new energy products

The Powerwall

Tesla has unveiled a suite of new energy products based around the lithium-ion energy storage products used in Tesla Cars. The range includes a wall-mounted battery that will be sold for use in consumers' homes called the "Powerwall.". For user who are used to thinking of electricity as something supplied entirely off the grid it does not, at first seem like "must-have", but the advantages are apparent when users consider that they will now only have to use low tariff electricity around the clock by charging the battery at night. In addition not only does it make solar energy more practical, but also makes home generated wind energy pay for its capital set up costs quickly and efficiently.   The home batteries charge up overnight, when energy companies typically charge less for electricity. Then, they can be turned on during the day to power any appliance in the home.

As the name suggests, the unit is designed to be mounted on a wall, and connected to the local power grid. It will be sold to installers for $3,500 for 10kWh, and $3,000 for 7kWh. For domestic users the price is a bit higher as these are DC sources and for most use you'll need an AC output that will cost another $2000. It's not clear whether the Powerwall cells are available for users wanting to use them for other purposes like RV power supplies, off-the grid living and small electric or hybrid vehicle manufacturers.

Elon Musk's Comments

Elon Musk(CEO and Founder of TESLA) believes they can help people in emerging markets or remote locations ‘leapfrog’ the need for existing power systems, in a similar way that mobile phones have become more important than landlines in remote parts of the world.

The batteries typically cost thousands of dollars, though many utility companies offer rebates. The new battery will  cut consumers' electric bills by 25%. In addition to the Powerwall, Tesla also announced an energy storage system for businesses, and a large scale system for use by utilities. "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "They're really horrible." When coupled with solar energy, the batteries will help accelerate the move away from fossil fuels, he said.

So do these make economic sense?

They do if

  • You have a substantial source of Solar Power that needs storing.
  • You have a substantial source of Wind Power that needs storing.
  • Your local night electricity rate is substantially lower than your day rate and you are consuming much of your electricity during the day.
  • You have an electric car that needs charging during the day rather than at night.
Or if you are not on the grid. These would be great for "Tiny House" living (or any very moderate family use) as 10KWh would change well from an array of say 2KW solar cells and a 1KW wind turbine (remember that in most places outside the tropics you will only get a fraction of the sunlight potential actually generated each day). 10KWh hours would run a modest home entertainment system, microwave, a couple of laptop PCs, mobile phones, a refrigerator and daily use of a washing machine (but not drier) for two or three days - which is about what you'd need in Northern Europe where you might easily have a few days with minimal solar charging AND no wind.
You can only decide properly by creating a spreadsheet with the correct figures for your own specific usage.


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