It’s a simple home battery that’s a gamechanger
A few days ago Tesla, the American company that’s known for making awesome looking electric vehicles, officially launched Powerwall, a battery system for the home. While using batteries for homes to store power from renewable sources like solar, Tesla’s one of the first companies that has made it dead simple for home owners to do so.
What sets Powerwall apart from the competition is the technology behind the batteries. For one, this isn’t the typical lead acid batteries that are used in construction sites and remote locations – the Powerwall uses state of the art lithium ion batteries – the same ones that they use in their electric cars. These power cells can charge and discharge thousands of times over a period of years with little to zero maintenance, which is a stark contrast to the conventional batteries that are used in our cars today.
Aside from the battery technology, the Powerwall is a smart system – home owners can set the batteries to charge when power is cheap during off peak hours so they can use that stored energy to cut back on their power bill during peak times. This will allow home owners to significantly lower their electric bills by paying for power at the cheapest rate available.
But the Powerwall is the most useful when it’s wired up alongside a solar panel. See, most homes that have solar panels usually sell back the energy that they generate during the afternoon (where the solar cells are at their peak efficiency) to the power companies, since there isn’t an easy to use, commercial battery solution available to the public to store all that excess power. The entire point of going solar is to generate and save electricity when you need it, something that current generation tech can’t solve as of the moment. Tesla’s Powerwall solves that. By having the ability to save almost all of the electricity generated by solar panels during the day, homes and businesses can maximize the efficiency of renewable energy during the morning and evening – the two times of the day when demand is at its peak. The Powerwall can also act as backup power in areas that have unreliable power or spotty generation – which is exactly the case currently in many areas of Mindanao. Mass deployment of Tesla’s Powerwall in conjunction with solar panels can probably solve the ongoing energy crisis in Mindanao, which has bee plaguing the region for quite some time.
And while the technology is rather expensive ($3,500 for 10 kWh or Php 156483, $3,000 or Php 134128 for 7 kWh) Tesla’s efforts are far reaching, even in a country like ours that’s thousands of kilometers away from the US. For one thing, economies of scale means that one day the technology will be cheap enough to be sold in power-starved countries like the Philippines without costing an arm and a leg. Heck, we’re sure that big players like SM and Ayala to name a few, are already eyeing Tesla’s Powerwall for their malls, buildings and commercial spaces in the Philippines. There’s already a big incentive from the government for these big players to go off grid (meaning, to generate their own power using generators or solar panels to relieve pressure from the electrical grid) – so it’s not so far-fetched that these companies would eventually implement Tesla’s solution. SM already has a pretty large investment in solar power in one of their malls – SM North EDSA is the world’s biggest solar-powered mall, and the company is making strides to integrate solar power into more properties this year. With enough Tesla Powercwalls, SM’s malls can probably cut their dependency on NAPOCOR and MERALCO big time.
Tesla isn’t all about just making money off of this tech either. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is committed to sharing his vision with the rest of the world – so much so that he has gone on record to say that all of their patents are now available to be used, by anybody and any corporation. This spirit of open source is obviously shared by Powerwall, which means any company can utlize Tesla’s patents without fear of litigation. More companies making competing devices = lower prices down the road
Tesla’s Powerwall is expensive, big and right now is only available to US customers come late Summer – but it’s an invention that may just turn out to be the solution to the power problems of the Philippines.