Powerwall is a battery that operates by storing excess solar energy onto storage devices that will enable consumers to use energy derived from the sun even after sunset. Musk hopes the Powerwall will help homes and businesses get to the point where the don’t need to rely on power plants, while he profits from the use of batteries such as Powerball. Some companies, including SolarCity, run by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive, have already signed on to sell the battery, which starts at a suggested price of $3,000 to $3,500. This price doesn’t include installation fees and for many, may prove to be too expensive.
As SolarCity’s Peter Rive conceded in a statement, “I don’t believe this product in its first incarnation will be interesting to the average person.” Regardless, Rive does believe that there are enough interested companies and parties to justify the production of this new battery. In fact, Musk eventually hopes to sell 2 billion battery packs globally, which he describes as a “super crazy” goal, but one that is “within the power of humanity to do.”
Indeed, the success of Powerwall has the potential to revolutionize how we understand energy. As Wired magazine discusses, there may come a day “when large-scale energy storage batteries become commodities, as interchangeable as the AA batteries you throw into your cart in the checkout line.” Still, the use of batteries capable of storing large amounts of energy are only one part in the future of energy storage. As CODA Energy CEO Paul Detering told Wired, “Among the most important elements…will be the tech to which the batteries are attached.”
As of now, the battery can be purchased in two energy storage variants, 10 kWh and 7 kWh, where the 7kWh is optimized for daily use applications and the 10 kWh battery is optimized for backup applications. What does this mean for the average consumer? If you don’t use a lot of power during peak times, it’s possible using the Powerwall could get you completely off the power grid. The current question is whether or not businesses could truly use it as an energy replacement, but this is certainly the first step in that direction. Powerwall is at the stage where it could potentially slash household electricity bills, and with the price likely to come down in future years, it may be a lot sooner than you think that you have one in your home.