Tesla Is Changing The Way We Think About Energy

Tesla Model X and Solar Roof

OCT 27 2017 BY EVANNEX 6

Tesla

Tesla Model S and Powerwall 2 home batteries

TESLA ENERGY: FROM SUN TO HOME TO WHEELS

Batteries power cell phones, laptops, and electric cars. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Your next home could run on batteries. A combination of solar power and the rise of residential energy storage paves the way for a new kind of cable cutting” and Tesla could play a major role in it. It turns out that batteries coupled with solar power could completely transform the energy sector. It’s a bet Elon Musk is willing to make and it’s one reason Tesla is changing the way we think about energy.

Tesla’s battery-powered cars get all the press. But Tesla’s battery-powered homes can be a real game changer. “There’s something ruggedly individualistic and inherently American about having batteries in your home. They’re good for keeping power going in a disaster, as customers of the two biggest firms by sales volume in this field, Sonnen and Tesla, demonstrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. And in combination with rooftop solar panels, they free people from total dependence on the grid—a kind of energy cable-cutting that wonks call ‘grid defection.'”

It’s no wonder grid operators are taking notice.

In fact, a “radical, battery-enabled rethink of the grid is already happening in Vermont. In partnership with Tesla Energy, Green Mountain Power is offering 2,000 of its customers the opportunity to have a Tesla Powerwall in their home for $15 a month. The 13.5 kilowatt-hour batteries retail for $5,500, but the utility can afford to put them in homes because they help the company save on other grid.” Battery-powered homes can be akin to a “virtual power plant for demand response” that could allow the houses to stabilize the grid, lower its carbon footprint, and decrease peak load.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

Above: Tesla’s solar roof tiles, Powerwall batteries, and electric cars create a complete energy ecosystem (Youtube: Miysis studio 3d)

Uptake of home batteries, like Tesla’s Powerwall, is often being driven by a powerful need: renewable energy. “Solar power, especially, tends to generate electricity only at certain times—and it’s rarely in sync with a home’s needs. In some states, such as California and Arizona, there’s an overabundance of solar power in the middle of the day during cool times of the year, then a sudden crash in the evenings, when people get home and energy use spikes. For utilities, it’s a headache. The price of electricity on interstate markets can go negative at certain times, forcing them to dump excess electricity or pay others to take it.”

“This is not a long-term theoretical issue that might happen—this is now,” says Marc Romito, director of customer technology at Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electric utility. Furthermore, with the growth of electric cars, power demands on the grid will increase even further. Tesla’s strategy: from sun, to home, to wheels — could provide a 360 degree solution which defines a new energy paradigm.

Tesla

Battery and solar trends play into Tesla’s overarching strategy (Image: Wall Street Journal)

Tesla anticipates a massive shift in the energy business. What trends are driving this shift?

The combination of increasing solar coupled with, “Falling [battery] prices also help. Battery pack prices have decreased, on average, 24% a year since 2010. Cheaper batteries… make renewable energy more attractive to home owners. In 2016, solar grew faster than any other energy source, according to the International Energy Agency. At the intersection of these and other trends is a simple fact: For the first time since the discovery of fire, the way humans get energy is set to fundamentally change.”

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*Source: Wall Street Journal

*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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6 Comments on "Tesla Is Changing The Way We Think About Energy"

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“Battery-powered homes can be akin to a “virtual power plant for demand response” that could allow the houses to stabilize the grid, lower its carbon footprint, and decrease peak load.”

This is probably the way of the future. Owning his own off-grid power plant is probably not going to happen for the common man with a 3/2/2 in the ‘burbs.

People move way too often to invest in a 20-year amortization for a solar array. Even 10 years is beyond average upgrade time.

That “solar power takes off” graph is deliberately misleading. You can see that Europe’s big push into solar is now over, as is Japan’s. China and the US appear to still be going up for the time being, and “Other” is slowly creeping up.

But this isn’t “taking off”. If you were to compare it to total consumption, the line would disappear.

Sure, this was down to government incentives, now more or less gone (as far as new systems are concerned, at least). But what is going to re-invigorate the growth in PV installations, as well as other renewable micro-generation, is the availability of cheap battery storage. This transforms the financials due to the fact that all that excess energy can be stored and used by the generator, not dumped onto the grid for a paltry fee. The other issue is the rising cost of grid-supplied energy. In the UK, the government recently approved the building of Hinckley Point C (nuclear power plant). It’s going to be built by the French and Chinese and when complete – in about 15/20 years – the UK will be paying nearly 3 times what currently equivalent ‘base-load’ electricity costs. So, realistically, this is a good indication of where electricity prices are going, generally, in the medium term. If true, this will make *any* building with a suitable roof an obvious candidate for PV and storage. Anyone with a mortgage will be able to afford it, too.

Tesla needs to work with a company like Winnebago. Winnebago can take used storage containers convert them into homes for the poor in Puerto Rico and Tesla can add solar panels and batteries to it. The storage container hones would be completed on the mainland and then shipped and installed on foundations where the final connections would be made. As power is restored these storage containers could be modified in Puerto Rico with local workers.

What is the current status of the Tesla solar Roofs? One commenter stated here the ‘sample roofs’ do not yet actually work.

SO at this date do at least the plainer roofs work yet?