Intersolar North America: "Batteries are going to win the day"


The Intersolar North America opening ceremony always delivers an entertaining affair, and today’s event delivered in spades. Tesla founder JB Straubel outlined how battery storage sits at the core of what his company does, from energy performance and cost through to product design and supply chain management.

Furthermore, Straubel set out how grid storage cost reductions will allow on-grid battery storage to proliferate and facilitate the continuing rollout of solar PV.

“It would be a bummer if the major progress of solar that we’ve seen be limited because there wasn’t enough storage on the grid,” said Straubel. “Our vision for the future is to stop burning fossil fuels for everything we need to do, but without driving the cost of the energy we use too high.”

Straubel set out how the evolution and improvement of lithium ion battery technology has driven the development and rollout of Tesla’s fully electric cars. He added that in the renewable space, battery improvements would play a vital roll in seeing high levels of renewables integrated into electricity grids.

“We can see solar generation at US$0.02 – $0.03/kWh and battery storage well below $0.10/kWh that is well and truly buffered electricity cheaper than existing fossil fuel sources," said Straubel.

Looking at the strategy behind Tesla’s construction, in partnership with Panasonic, of its Nevada Gigafab, Straubel said that Tesla’s demand for lithium ion batteries will total close to 35 GWh per year by 2020, which is more than global lithium ion cells and batteries produced in 2014. Currently Tesla is consuming 10% of global lithium ion battery capacity each year.

Intersolar officials say that 18,000 visitors are expected across the three days of Intersolar and the ees, up 20% on 2014. 150 storage companies at exhibiting at the event, up from 30 when storage was initially added to the program.