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Powerwall –the best innovation since the personal computer?

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Can you even remember life before the personal computer? We had basic calculators for complex formulas, but they had little to no storage. Instead, we were dependent upon books, magazines and notebooks for the storage of all information we kept at our homes or outside of a mainframe computer.

We are a bit further along in the energy world in that we have solar systems to generate power at our homes, but historically home energy storage has been expensive and dimensionally challenging. Few of us could have justified mainframes at our homes before the personal computer and few have been able to justify large battery banks for energy storage produced by home solar systems. Until now.

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk unveiled late last night the highly anticipated Powerwall. Quite simply, the Powerwall is just a rechargeable lithium ion battery, which is nothing new in and of itself, but Tesla’s innovation has enabled it to be used as a complete storage system for the home. There are four key things that really set this new battery system apart:

DifferentiatorPowerwallAlternate battery systems
Size and form factorWall hanging, 220lbs, 52.1”x33.9”x7.1”Several deep cycle batteries that take up enough space to require their own storage shed
Unparalleled capacity relative to size1 x 7 kWh Daily Cycle and 1 x 10 kWh Backup versions20 or 30 or 40+ individual deep cycle batteries
Unparalleled costWholesale costs of $3k and $3.5k respectively for the 7kWh and 10kWh units$15k, $20k or $30k+ for the deep cycle versions
US economy impactDeveloped and manufactured in the USAMost major deep cycle battery production is done overseas

While Tesla is not shipping production versions of the battery just yet, they have indicated it should begin shipping late this summer. Will other battery manufacturers follow suit? Will reasonable in-home storage be the catalyst needed to drive a significant increase in home solar systems? We welcome your thoughts and discussion.