- April 21, 2015
- Posted by: Catalyst
- Category: Business Energy News
Using the same technology inside their electric cars, Tesla is working towards developing lithium-ion batteries for the home, according to a statement from CEO Elon Musk.
The batteries would be used to store excess commercial energy collected from solar panels of homes and businesses, and then drawn from over night when the panels are idle.
Mr Musk revealed that the design of the battery is complete and they plan to go into production in about six months time. Plans have been made to unveil the design sometime in the next two months.
The batteries, which represent the company’s first venture into home energy storage, are expected to generate excitement initially just thanks to the Tesla label. The creations should also be an improvement on the ones that it supplies to its sister company SolarCity, makers of solar panels, as they are only available in California. The new batteries would be more widely available.
It won’t be an easy road for Tesla however, with other major companies such as Bosch, GE and Samsung also getting involved. Honda has also revealed a demonstration “smart home” that has a rechargeable home battery, electric vehicle, solar panels and geothermal heat pump. The home was driven by an energy management system.
Harvard and MIT researchers have also developed flow batteries for storing renewable energy. Meanwhile, the fuel cell boxes from Bloom Energy act as a power source as well as a storage device.
However, Tesla is expected to beat its competitors in at least one area: cost. The company is about to begin mass battery assemblage at its gigafactory in Nevada. At such a large scale – with production reaching as high as 50 gigawatt-hours of battery capacity each year – production costs are expected to be reduced by 30 percent, a saving which is expected to be passed on to the buyer.
Home batteries have the potential to be a great asset for homeowners who use rooftop solar panels, especially those that use Time-of-Use rate plans through utility companies. People on these plans typically have to draw from the grid in the evening and at night when the Sun is gone and when energy rates are highest. A home energy storage system would eliminate this need, thus saving the homeowner money.