With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.
When Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this month that the automaker would soon release a product sans wheels, the Internet went into a flurry of speculation. Some headlines predicted that Tesla's new battery would "eliminate electricity bills," while others took it a step further saying it would "change the world."
But now, after the big unveiling late last night, the time for speculation is over. Quell your curiosity, and spend 10 minutes learning everything you need to know about Tesla's new battery.
Tesla's new battery, Powerwall, fills in the gap -- allowing homeowners to store solar energy onsite, ensuring that they have access to their own energy day and night. But it's not just homeowners with rooftop solar who stand to benefit: The Powerwall can also store utility-supplied energy when rates are low and save it for use during peak hours, reducing demand on utilities during peak times and cutting down dramatically on monthly bills. The battery also helps homeowners fortify their homes against power outages -- and frees them from dirty diesel backup generators -- by providing a backup electricity supply.
During the announcement, Musk said that leasing the battery would also be an option, and that the price-point was "without any incentives" from local, state or federal governments, reports Ars Technica.
Homes with greater energy needs can install multiple batteries together to go completely off-grid or keep the lights on for weeks in the event of prolonged power outages in rural areas.
Amazon: Amazon Web Services has a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint. And it seems the company has been working with Tesla on the sly to achieve its goal: "We’ve been working closely with Tesla for the past year to drive innovative applications of high-capacity battery technology in data center applications with the ultimate goal of reducing the technical barriers limiting widespread adoption of renewables in the grid,” said James Hamilton, a 'distinguished engineer' at Amazon Web Services. "We're excited to roll out a 4.8 megawatt hour pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries in our U.S. West (Northern California) Region. This complements our strategy to use renewable energy to power our global infrastructure.”
Target: “As part of Target’s support to our communities, we’re excited to partner with Tesla on a pilot test at select Target stores to incorporate Tesla Energy Storage as part of our energy strategy,” said David Hughes, senior group manager of energy management at Target.
Jackson Family Wines: In tandem with onsite renewable energy, Jackson Family Wines will use Powerwall technology to "mitigate energy use around four areas that account for the most consumption in our winemaking process: refrigeration/cooling, lighting, compressed air and process water treatment."
Lest you assume this is still just speculation, four utilities are already partnering with Tesla to employ the new technology:
Southern California Edison: Southern California Edison (SCE) has developed the nation’s largest battery storage system and has contracts in place for an additional 264 megawatts of storage, including projects using Tesla batteries. SCE is working with Tesla on three demand-response demonstration projects to "test communication capabilities" and "explore rebates to customers who allow SCE to manage their battery charging" -- with the ultimate goal of increasing renewable energy use while ensuring continued grid reliability.
SoCore Energy, a subsidiary of SCE's parent company, is working with a client to design and install Tesla batteries at two of its retail properties in Southern California. The sites will feature Tesla battery units that will be charged with electricity from the grid during non-peak hours at night.
AES: As a launch partner, AES says it will employe Tesla's battery technology across its distributed energy platforms. The batteries will complement the AES Advancion digital control system, regarded as best-in-class for energy management.
Advanced Microgrid Solutions: Advanced Microgrid Solutions has high praise for the new technology: “Tesla’s bold approach to advancing battery technology will change the way we build our cities forever," said Susan Kennedy, the company's co-founder and CEO.
OnCor: Oncor also seems pretty stoked to start using Tesla batteries: "Tesla has long demonstrated its ability to be a technology leader, which is why Oncor has looked to Tesla for grid-scale storage. Oncor looks forward to working with Tesla to make sure the electric grid meets all customers’ future needs," the company said in a statement.
The fact that a utility-grade option was released right out of the gate also bodes well for the battery's promise to revolutionize the energy sector. Since solar and wind power are variable by nature, reliable and efficient energy storage has long been considered the key to widespread renewable energy adoption. With utilities already working with Tesla to deploy its new batteries, could this be the turning point?
Image credits: Tesla Energy
Mary Mazzoni, Senior Editor, has written for TriplePundit since 2013. She is also Managing Editor of CR Magazine and the Editor of 3p’s Sponsored Series. Mazzoni’s recent work can be found in Conscious Company, AlterNet and VICE’s Motherboard. She is based in Philadelphia.