Renewable energy is great – but it's not without its problems. For example, storing electricity for future use can be tricky, which is where storage units come into play. Just last month, Tesla introduced Powerwall, an intelligent lithium-ion battery for household use.
A home battery that charges using electricity from solar panels (or when rates are low), Powerwall stores energy and uses it to power homes in the evening (when solar energy supply is low and rates are consequently higher). The battery also automatically kicks in when there is a power outage and, vice versa, it can be hooked up to and communicate with the power network so that power can be 'fed in' from the outside in case of an emergency, with the device searching for the best seller/supplier based on availability of energy and price.
The Powerwall has an independent, intelligent control and data connection that can be linked to other household appliances (Smart Home) and an intelligent grid (Smart Grid). And yes, true to Tesla form, the battery has a sleek, appealing design and is available in a variety of colours.
Everyone Wants a Piece of the Storage Pie
Tesla is looking to offer the battery in two variations to private customers: a seven kilowatt version and a 10 kilowatt version. Despite its compact size, the device reportedly provides enough energy to power one household.
Competitors have a more skeptical view and have expressed doubt that Powerwall really does more than other batteries or whether it is just a matter of the "Tesla coolness factor" coming into play. Not surprising, given the pressure and number of products available in this sphere. In Germany alone, the market is being flooded with these devices. Energy company RWE announced it will bring a memory device to the market later this summer as will Daimler Group and Solar Watt GmbH, which is owned by the BMW major shareholder Stefan Quandt.
The Powerwall, which has a pricetag of around 3,100 EUR, is not yet available. A version for companies is currently being tested in the USA by Amazon and Target with a general release in the States to occur in summer and a worldwide release to happen in 2016. Elon Musk, Tesla's chairman, product architect and CEO, truly has big plans. His goal is a "complete transformation of the energy infrastructure in the world, to make it sustainable and emission-free". In his opinion, two billion of these devices are all that's needed to supply the world with clean electricity. Well then. We'll see if the Powerwall becomes the iPhone of batteries.
This article has been translated, in part, from the original by Silvana which appeared on our German platform.