Tesla Enters Home Energy Sector With Powerwall; Does It Have Farm Utility?
Powering your home and possibly your farm using renewable sources and thereby loosening your tie to the utility grid took a huge step forward this week with one company's introduction of what is essentially a rechargeable battery for your house.
Tesla Motors, the brainchild of tech industry investor and engineer Elon Musk, is shedding the Motors part of its name and jumping into the energy market for your static surroundings with its introduction of Tesla Energy and a suite of tools including the Powerwall, which will essentially tap into off-the-grid renewable energy sources, namely solar or wind power, to supplement energy use with the idea that it can eventually take your home completely off the grid.
"With Tesla Energy, Tesla is amplifying its efforts to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy future with Tesla batteries, enabling homes, business, and utilities to store sustainable and renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power, and increase grid resilience," according to a statement from Tesla. "Tesla is already working with utilities and other renewable power partners around the world to deploy storage on the grid to improve resiliency and cleanliness of the grid as a whole."
The feature product of Tesla Energy -- the Powerwall -- is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that stores energy gleaned from solar cells. It will be released in two sizes, 10kWh and 7kWh, with the former selling for around $3,500 and the latter for $3,000. That price doesn't include solar panels or inverters required to transfer the energy into the format for consumption at home or transfer back into the power grid.
"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 backup power. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized to provide backup when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most," according to Tesla. "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."
Image, data courtesy Tesla.
Early reviews of the system are mixed; some critics say it's nothing more than a toy for wealthy consumers, while others see home batteries as a way to help cut overall energy use and make a move to renewable energy more feasible for the average consumer. What about use on the farm? It will likely need higher energy output for widespread farm use, but it's a start.
"Absolutely," says Fairfield, Iowa, farmer Francis Thicke of farmers' ability to employ the Powerwall or similar devices on their farms. "However, we probably need more capacity for on-farm use."
"Yesterday, I made a reservation for Tesla Powerwall technology. I see a chance to try this here for off-grid applications, both for the house and office, and for our production facilities. I know the sizing our sustem takes...fir the house/ office/shop, it is well within the realm of possibility that we will go off-grid as soon as they can ship to us," says Agriculture.com Farm Business Talk advisor Kay/NC. "For a 7-kW daily cycling panel/battery at $3,500, I would need 3 for the house/office. There is additional expense for inverters, and we'd need 2 for the 2 services there. I have a very capable electrician, and he treats me fair. I think 21 kW meets my load...we sized the emergency generator at 20 kW. At let's say $15,000 turnkey, I'd pay it out well within 7 years, probably more like 4 or 5."
See a few reviews and news items on the Tesla Energy Powerwall