Tesla Energy May Prove More Significant Than The Company’s EVs

6 days ago by EVANNEX 26

Tesla

Tesla Energy “Solar Roof” powering an upcoming Tesla Model 3

TESLA ENERGY PRODUCTS COULD BECOME BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN ITS CARS [VIDEO]

As anyone who’s been paying attention knows by now, Tesla is no longer just an automaker. It’s quickly evolving into a technology company, a brand that, like Apple, provides a complete ecosystem, with products designed to work smoothly together (and to stoke your demand for other products in the system).

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris.

Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy solar roof on a house with a Tesla Model X parked in the driveway next to Tesla Powerwalls (Source: Tesla)

Tesla’s vehicles dominate the headlines, but the Tesla Energy line of business has been growing so quickly, and in so many different directions, that some are asking whether it may end up stealing the show.

Actually, Elon Musk has already given his answer, saying, “It’s something I think will probably be as big as the car business long-term.” Even in the short term things look promising – after announcing its first quarter earnings, Tesla wrote that “the energy generation and storage business is positioned for accelerating growth later this year.”

Tesla Energy

After Tesla acquired SolarCity last year, the company is showcasing its new solar panels in action on Tesla’s website (Image: Tesla)

Tesla Energy is just beginning to preview what it’s capable of – in recent months, we’ve reported on several aspects of the company’s energetic activities.

Tesla has a growing portfolio of energy storage projects large and small, all around the world. In Southern California, Tesla Powerpacks are helping a utility regulate its electrical grids (and avert a crisis caused by a natural gas leak in Los Angeles). They’re allowing an entire island in American Samoa to meet almost all of its energy needs with solar power. They’re powering remote off-grid lodges from Canada to South Africa to Fiji.

Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy Powerpacks providing energy storage for the grid (Image: Tesla)

Southern Cal isn’t the only place where an energy crisis became an opportunity for Tesla. Elon Musk’s public negotiation on Twitter of a deal to build a storage facility for an electric utility in Australia was such a great story that major newspapers were soon discussing things like peak shaving and load balancing. As battery production grows, Tesla and partner Panasonic are poised to dominate the market, both for EV and stationary applications. The effects of this rapid technological leap will change the world – the Guardian predicts that the growth of the electric vehicle/renewable energy economy could halt worldwide growth in demand for oil and coal by 2020.

Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy provides 360-degree clean energy solutions (Image: Tesla)

The vast variety of applications that Tesla’s energy storage products are being used for is thought-provoking indeed (just how huge is the potential?). What’s even more mind-boggling is the speed with which this is all happening – the Powerwall didn’t even exist until 2015, and the Gigafactory that’s building all these batteries only started production in early 2016.

Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy Powerwall and solar panels (Image: Tesla)

If you haven’t visited the Energy section of Tesla’s web site lately, get ready to be impressed.  It’s been redesigned as a one-stop shop for energy products.  You can request a custom quote for rooftop solar panels (or the new solar roof tiles), or order a Powerwall energy storage device online.  If you’re looking for commercial products for your company, or if you work for a public utility, you’ll find what you need to know here as well.

Tesla Energy

Tesla Energy is providing commercial energy solutions as well (Image: Tesla)

A recent episode of Cold Fusion TV highlights some of Tesla Energy’s latest feats. J.B. Straubel speaks to a local TV station on the Hawaiian island of Kaui, where Tesla has built one of the biggest (probably not for long) battery systems in the world – 272 Powerpacks store energy from 55,000 solar panels. (Islands, which tend to have plenty of sun and wind, along with sky-high energy prices, are perfect venues for renewable energy and electric vehicles.)

Above: A short documentary on Tesla Energy (Youtube: ColdFusion)

Cold Fusion also shows us the new Tesla storage facility that saved the day for Southern California Edison – it can power up to 2,500 homes. Next we visit the Gigafactory, still under construction but already bringing in raw materials at one end and shipping complete battery packs out the other. Cold Fusion calls it “the mother of all vertical integration structures.” To this writer, that sounds like a more constructive use of resources than a “mother of all bombs.”

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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27 responses to "Tesla Energy May Prove More Significant Than The Company’s EVs"

  1. Brian says:

    Does Tesla release numbers on how much they have installed? Would be interesting to see what kind of growth they have year over year with more and more of the Gigafactory(s) done.

    1. Viktor says:

      In the Q1 report they write that they had install 150 MW solar and 60 MWh battery storage so hopefully they will continue to release this numbers so we can compere how fast it’s growing.

  2. Davek says:

    Interesting article. I’m fairly convinced that energy storage is as important to the adoption of renewable energy as it is neglected at the moment. Governments should be subsidising and encouraging the development of storage capacity way more than they are now. In Germany, for instance, you’re not allowed to charge your storage system from the grid at low prices (that is to say when it’s sunny and/or windy) and then sell it back when the price (read: demand) is high. Essentially they’ve outlawed what could be a very effective load levelling mechanism. Back in the day I could imagine this making sense, but now that wind and solar are cheaper than coal (certainly the incremental cost of a produced MWh is extremely low), the policy is fairly out of date as I see it.

    Also, is there any way that the Evannex articles could be edited SO THAT THE FIRST LINE ISN’T SO SHOUTY? It stresses me out every time I see one.

    1. georgeS says:

      Davek,

      ” I’m fairly convinced that energy storage is as important to the adoption of renewable energy as it is neglected at the moment.”

      I’m fairly convinced that Elon’s plan is to become an electric utility and this video seems to suggest that.

      Video:

      “The utility company in Kuai will buy electricity from Tesla Solar farm at a set cost of 13.9 cents per kwh.”

      It sounds like Tesla installed the solar farm on Tesla’s money and just sells back the power.

      That’s a very big deal IMO. You hear people say that Tesla’s purchase of Solar City was a bad idea….but I’m not so sure.

      They aren’t just selling leasing rooftop solar systems, they have the potential to become a major power supplier (utility).

      As the article/video suggests. It’s the perfect example of vertical integration.

      I also believe this is key to Tesla’s successful commercial offering of a class 8 semi truck.

      My wild guess is Tesla will install a whole new supercharging network just for long haul semi trucks. The supercharging network will use power packs and solar panels to eliminate high demand charges from the utilities.

      The Tesla semi truck will come with “free supercharging”.

      A class 8 semi with free fuel!!!

      Pretty enticing.

  3. Warren Hurd says:

    Can I get a Tesla House to go along with my Tesla car?

    1. jelloslug says:

      Only if you also get a Tesla tube that goes to your Tesla job.

      1. William says:

        This might be a “Tesla Trend” that is technologically transforming traditional transportation tendencies!

  4. jim stack says:

    Battery storage is not only great for Solar and Wind that are considered intermittent. They are also great for Fossil fuels that can’t ramp down and up and have to dump power at night when use is low. Even hydro can’t be ramped down and up. Neither can Nuclear. So battery storage makes all power sources able to match the use and be more efficient.

    1. William says:

      Pumped Hydro CAN be ramped “down or up”! It is the the timing of the the backward pumping action that stores the future release of water and electrons to the grid when demand approaches its peak.

  5. JR says:

    Battery solutions is a brilliant solution in short term, meaning 24 hour to 1 week max 30 days, but what about winter time when your solar panel does not produce any energy (I know mine doesn’t) you need to store your energy otherwise!

    1. Someone out there says:

      Batteries are a good complement to pumped hydro. Pumped hydro can ramp up or down in a matter of minutes while batteries can follow the load more or less instantly. Pumped hydro on the other hand can store vastly more energy so it’s better for long term storage.

    2. Mark.ca says:

      “winter time when your solar panel does not produce any energy ”
      Why is that? Covered with snow? Clean them up. Solar panels produce even in the darker winter days as long as it’s daytime.

      1. Mikael says:

        Sure…but in northern countries it is like 1/10th to 1/20th generated in a winter day compared to a summer day.

        Solar is great in most countries but worthless in some.

    3. pjwood1 says:

      Takes me back to the Moody’s study (2015?) that claimed the need for $350,000 in batteries, if one were to grid-defect. As long as their estimate was, it attempted the point you’re making. Many areas feature simultaneous low-sun, high-HVAC needs (cold winter). These up the call on storage to balance seasons. California doesn’t have this problem. Temps are more steady.

      People can always use more panels, and limit $$ batteries, but few have room for ~100 and if they did net metering volumes would test the current (declining) desire of the utilities to take the watts back (in summer).

      As utilities grasp for revenue and fewer KWh sales leads to higher KWh prices, behind the meter battery use will accelerate. People won’t go to rate-hearings, but I bet they’ll eventually be buying batteries.

      DSIRE just released their updated “Grid Modernization” report. It’s a good tracker for, among other things, state storage policies:
      http://tinyurl.com/lr3fxja

  6. Someone out there says:

    Energy storage is definitely the next big thing in utility scale networks but I don’t think it will be a huge part of Tesla’s business. It’s a low margin business so Tesla will make more money selling batteries inside cars instead of separate batteries. However I do think they will sell more batteries than solar tiles though. The solar tiles is a luxury product that probably won’t have a great success, batteries have far wider usefulness. Over the coming years utility scale batteries will drop in price significantly as more competitors enter the market and installations surge, just like the solar market.

    1. Viktor says:

      According to Teslas quater report for the first quater they had a profit margin of 27% for cars and 29% for energy and solar. Exactly how it’s for battery and solar separately we don’t know.

  7. Aires Henriques says:

    The tesla has an immense battery still unknown but they should not be stopped in this framework. The large number of Tesla cars that are connected to the grid, loading simultaneous, is extremely high! Since Tesla cars are also connected to the internet, so with a central charging management system can be managed by providing ancillary system services to the electric network operators, with dividends for Tesla and for vehicle owners. If the chargers are bidirectional then the potentialities are very high. It will be the future!…. be aware! 🙂 It’s my guess

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Seriously….WHAT?

      1. pjwood1 says:

        V2G

  8. Bloggin says:

    It’s interesting how we are moving from the limiting capitalism based supply systems and figuring out that how we receive services now is not based on what’s more efficiency, but what earns the most revenue. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    1. Cutting the cable and using the free over the air digital/HD tv broadcasts

    2. Switching to EVs to eliminate 90% of expensive car maintenance and fuel costs

    3. Using solar to capture the unlimited and free energy to power our homes, cars, and businesses.

    With mass production and battery prices dropping rapidly, within 5 years a large number of new homes will be built energy self-sufficient standard with solar and battery pack. Where power costs for those without solar should drop, because power companies will no longer need new/additional large power production plants, with the network of homes and solar farms providing excess energy to be stored and redistributed.

    Building a new home in the near future, solar+battery storage for at least 3 days is a must.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      We need more advances in bettery storage as these systems we have today with a 10 year life span are still not cost effective. People need to understand that new instals will happen only when it makes sense financially. Solar is ramping up big time because it is cheaper (even under 10 years term) than conventional electricity, even without the credits…storage is not there yet.

      1. Mark.ca says:

        ….and after all that you have net metering programs…how do you complete with that?

      2. pjwood1 says:

        It’s a multi-variate analysis, Mark.
        -Different state NM policies
        -KWh rates spanning ~$.05-.35 (peaks, tiers, islands, etc.)
        -The race for residential demand charges, and upping flat (cable-like) costs where variable per KWh costs once were.
        -As of yet unsaturated second-purpose market for auto-batteries.
        -SREC policies
        -Tax-credits on batteries (MD just did this, to stimulate behind the meter use!)

        I get the long-term vs. peak shaving debate requires different economics, but between seasonal storage and the 24hr cycle is also weather oriented storage, for rain spells or cold/heat snaps. After a certain number of battery KWh, and long before one goes “seasonal”, I think residential will be able to keep pricing storage at rates that make a market. Grid defection is fun to think about, but the biggest threats with hostile rate-design are apt to be answered with greater behind the meter strategies. One doesn’t have to leave the grid, to do that. They just have to reach a resentful break-point, of being flat-fee’d, being paid dirt for solar watts, or having to pay $.20/KWh for some state’s decoupled odyssey, before they won’t even care if dramatically less business with utilities is ultimately more costly. Whether out of spite, or for “clean”, they’ll be dropping their grid consumption. My take.

  9. georgeS says:

    The video says there’s a rail line right into the giga factory.

    Is that true??

    I don’t see it in the aerial shot of the giga factory.

  10. georgeS says:

    wow. That cold fusion video was really good.

  11. Four Electrics says:

    Batteries have acceptable cost for peak-shaving, where the duty cycle of the battery is measured in hours. For longer term energy storage, they are cost-prohibitive, probably forever.

    Batteries have in no-way saturated the peak shaving market, however, so I expect growth to continue for some time.

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