Energy Storage for a Sustainable Home
All of humanity wants a really important victory in our battle to lower the CO2 emissions that are causing climate change. Not long ago Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk introduced the world to the power wall, a wall-mounted battery for your house which aims to accelerate our transition to clean solar and wind power. Before the power wall there was no way to store the energy generated from the panels that capture sunlight on our roofs. So during the day they could give you the power you needed, but at night you had to rely on the grid which gets most of its electricity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear reactors. There had been some early home batteries out there, but nothing that was nearly this affordable. But Tesla which has built thousands of large lithium ion battery packs for its growing electric car business was able to produce a similar battery for buildings at a scale that dropped the production costs dramatically. The lowest capacity model will cost just $3000 and this is the first generation of the product. Before Tesla has even completed building its massive new giga-factory, or any real competitors have entered the market, events that will surely push the price down even further while increasing the energy storage capacity of the power wall.
Here’s how it works. When the sun is out, solar panels will power your house and charge the power wall at the same time. And when the sun goes down, this charged battery will kick in to meet most or all of your electricity needs until the sun comes back up again the next morning. This is game changing. More and more people will go completely off the grid. Every building whether it’s a home, office, business, warehouse or factory they can all install solar panels and some power walls and instantly see their fossil fuel generated electricity needs drop significantly. Not every building will be able to go completely solar powered, but most will get pretty close. Especially as our appliances and other electronics become more and more energy efficient. And it gets even better; the power will be connected to the Internet and the rest of the energy grid. In Southern California, and most other heavily populated places around the country, the energy company charges a lot more when we use electricity during peak times.
That’s in the afternoon and early evening when the temperatures are warmest and most of us are home and still awake. The Tesla battery is smart and knows when electricity is cheapest. So that’s when it will draw power from the grid to charge itself. And then during peak time when you need electricity, the battery will power the house. This is going to lower everyone’s energy bills and sometimes you’ll even be able to sell back unused power to the utility company during peak time, even making a profit. It’s basically going to make each individual building its own power station. Overnight, Tesla has seemed less like a futuristic car company, and more like the man who inspired the company’s name, a revolutionary electricity engineer named Nicola.