Tesla Powerwall: sold out until mid-2016 due to “crazy off the hook” demand
07/05/14: Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced that the interest in the Powerwall batteries has been “crazy off the hook”. With 38,000 orders have been placed so far, Musk predicts this will dominate Gigafactory’s (the battery’s manufacturer) output until mid-2016.
2,800 companies are also reported to be interested in the commercial-ready batteries, with the average business placing 10 orders each. Musk estimates that the commercial units will provide 5-10 more megawatt hours than the home units.
Tesla’s Powerwall Home Battery is revolutionary
There’s a fundamental problem with energy supply right now which is costing billions of pounds and killing the planet at the same time. That was the message from Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk, as he launched the Powerwall Home Battery unit – and do you know what, it’s hard to disagree with him.
Tesla’s battery takes a step towards solving an issue that affects energy suppliers and consumers alike. The issue? The unbalanced supply and demand of energy on a daily basis.
Tesla’s Powerwall Home Battery has the answer
US electric carmaker, Tesla Motors, has launched a range of heavy-duty batteries designed to be used for homes and businesses that could genuinely help balance this issue.
The two main batteries on offer are the $3,000 (£1,954) 7kWh unit or the $3,500 (£2,275) 10kWh unit. The battery’s come with a 10-year warranty and will start being delivered in the US “in late Summer” – there’s no word yet on when the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery will be available in the UK.
How they work is simple: They’re attached to your home or business’s power supply and they store energy, ready for you to use whenever you need it. The obvious scenarios where they will kick-in is during a power cut, but it’s more everyday occurrences which make them really useful. This is because they can charge at times when energy is cheap to supply – think along the lines of Economy 7 – and then power your home/business when energy is expensive.
The supply and demand energy mismatch
However, the importance of the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery isn’t what it does for you personally: it’s what it does to change the way we consume power across the grid.
The big issue is the intermittent nature of energy produced by some kinds of renewables. When energy is produced by solar or wind power depends on the weather, and so isn’t predictable. For a nationwide energy system, this is a problem, because our energy consumption patterns are predictable, with peaks and troughs. Power generators need to deal with the peaks by bringing power generation on and offline at the right times – and you just can’t do this well with solar or wind power.
For the future to be good, we need electric transport, solar power and (of course) … pic.twitter.com/8mwVWukQDL
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2015
Now imagine that every house has a battery like the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery. Instead of relying on bringing additional generating capacity online at peak periods, individuals can simply rely on their Home Battery. To the customer, this will be completely invisible. To the grid, it will mean the ability to rely on wind and solar to a much greater degree.
The Powerwall Home Battery could be huge if…
Right now this is a great product which could be very useful. However, for it to really take off it Tesla needs the big energy suppliers to offer tariffs that take advantage of home batteries and low-cost energy rates. And it probably requires some energy suppliers to step up the plate and subsidise home batteries.
You may think it might not happen. Energy is a multi-billion pound industry, and empowering the consumer to save money is not really conducive to making more profits.
However, the reality is that energy suppliers have to create huge amounts of energy to match the peak periods of demand. In fact they have to have significantly more generating capacity than is required, with some of it unused most of the time. This waste is expensive. Working with home batteries – not just Tesla’s – could provide a way for companies to streamline a supply infrastructure that hasn’t changed a lot in several decades.
Watch Elon Musk’s keynote on the Powerall Home Battery
Tesla’s Powerwall Home Battery has received 38,000 thousand orders already, mean it’s sold out until mid-2016