Imagine being able to run all your electronic appliances in the middle of a blackout. Now, imagine being able to do that for three days straight. That fantasy is reality for a few select homeowners who have invested in home batteries. It seems the stuff of science fiction, but these batteries are already available for purchase—for tens of thousands of dollars.
Home batteries offer more than just insurance should the lights go out; they afford homeowners the opportunity to stockpile free or inexpensive energy and use it later. These batteries even allow homeowners to sell solar energy back to the electric company, thus helping to offset the cost of their initial investment.
On their own, solar panels have two flaws. First, they are useless on cloudy days and at night; second, the time they are most productive (the middle of the afternoon) is often when homes have the least demand for electricity. Home batteries help optimize the utility of these solar panels. Still, the high initial investment required to install a home battery has proven prohibitive, thus far.
Enter Tesla. The innovative car manufacturer is working on Powerwall, a home battery that is smaller, quieter, and far more affordable than its predecessors. Instead of a $50,000 initial investment, home owners might soon be able to purchase this battery for just a $3500. Far more affordable for most Americans. It is their goal to make home batteries as commonplace as cell phones.
Powerwall is available in a variety of colors and can be mounted on any wall, so homeowners need not devote an entire room to their home battery. Powerwall doesn’t require homeowners to use solar panels–though using them in conjunction with Powerwall can help homeowners get off of the grid–but rather can simply store affordable electricity during non-peak hours for use during peak hours, or during blackouts.
A single Powerwall provides 10 kWh of electricity, but homeowners can stack up to 9 for a total of 90 kWh. Powerwall will also make it possible to bring electricity to even remote corners of the world, far from the nearest power lines.
As part of the plan to make home batteries more affordable, Tesla is building a “gigafactory” in Nevada. When finished, it will be the biggest battery factory in the world, which should make home, and car, batteries more than 30% cheaper.
Large companies are already making use of the new Tesla batteries. These batteries can be found in Wal-Marts in California, as well as in the Google and Apple offices.
Tesla believes that energy independence is possible. Not just for homeowners, not even just for the nation. Tesla believes that energy independence is possible for the world.