Tesla unveils sleek, low-cost battery solution for home and commercial

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Tesla Motors’ highly anticipated “missing piece” was finally unveiled by CEO Elon Musk during a press conference in California last night.

The Powerwall home battery and the Powerpack storage solution for commercial customers were introduced to an enrapt audience, with Musk speaking passionately of his aim to power the world with solar+storage.

The headline-grabbing Powerwall will be offered this summer to U.S. customers, available in a 10kWh version retailing at $3,500, and a 7kWh version on the market for just $3,000. The larger powerwall is optimized for backup applications for when the grid goes down, while the smaller 7kWh Powerwall can be easily paired with a solar PV system and used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar.

Musk remarked that the world could meet its energy needs with two billion Powerwall battery systems. “That may seem like an insane number,” he said, “but we’re talking about trying to change the fundamental energy infrastructure of the world.”

The batteries will initially be produced at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, before production moves to the company’s “Gigafactory” in Nevada. According to Tesla, the home battery system is ideal for load shifting – charging during low rate periods and discharging stored power during peak demand periods – and is also the perfect companion to a home solar system.

Musk is also chairman and co-founder of U.S. solar company SolarCity, and Tesla’s Powerwall is considered the final affordable piece to the distributed generation puzzle.

Game-changing launch

Tesla’s influence in the electric vehicle (EV) market has been to dramatically alter the perception of EVs as little more than expensive golf carts. Whether the same can be done for home storage solutions remains to be seen, but Tesla’s sleek design, its low cost and the slick marketing and presentation that comes with anything Musk-affiliated could prove pivotal in opening up the home and commercial storage market.

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