Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
Tesla recently announced that it would only start selling its solar products bundled with Powerwall. This is an important step for giving people energy security and makes the Powerwalls a giant distributed utility. More detailed reasons for this approach were explained by Elon Musk during the Q1 2021 Earnings Call.
Tesla previously offered solar products and home energy storage systems to customers as two separate products, however the company changed its approach last week. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that now the Solar Roof or Solar Panels will only be sold together with Powerwall as one product. Musk also shared some updates on Powerwall. He revealed that the new Powerwall, which began production in November 2020, has a lot more peak power capability than the specification on the website--actually about twice the power.
Due to the fact that the company's solar products will only be installed with Powerwall, the difficulty of the installation will be much less, as now the power from Solar Roof or panels will only go directly into the Powerwall. Thus, Powerwall will only ever go "between the utility and the main power panel of the house, which means you never need to touch the main circuit breakers of the house. You never need to touch the house circuit breakers," Musk said. With this approach, each house will electrically look the same instead of being unique, which had required exceptional ability to rewire the main panel as it did with split installations.
Now, every solar Powerwall installation will be its own utility. If the lights go out in the area, then such a household will still have electricity, which gives people energy security, and can also work with utilities to stabilize the entire grid. The more such installations are located in the area, the more likely it is that during peak power demand there will not be an unexpected power outage, as was the case in Texas in February 2021, because under certain conditions, the Powerwalls can operate like a giant distributed utility.
"There was a peak power demand and that peak power demand, because the grid lacked the ability to buffer the power, they had to shutdown power. There's no power in storage. No good form of power storage. However, with a whole bunch of Powerwalls at houses, we can actually buffer the power. So if the grid needs more power, we can actually then with the consent, obviously, of the homeowner and the partnership with the utility, we can then actually release power on to the grid to take care of peak power demand. So, effectively, the Powerwalls can operate as a giant distributed utility. This is profound."
Musk explained that this is extremely important and necessary because we are moving towards a world where people are leaning towards electric vehicles. This will mean that the demand for electricity in homes and businesses will increase significantly, which means more electricity will be needed. This, in turn, bodes well for both Tesla and utilities that will not be able to serve their customers without making the appropriate changes. Therefore, it is very important to have solar panels in the home as well as batteries at the utility level so that solar and wind energy, which are the main forms of renewable electricity, can be stored.
© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.