Tesla’s new residential and utility-scale batteries, which have the potential to revolutionize the energy market, are expected to be publicly unveiled this week. Invitations to the April 30th event teased the new product line as “the missing piece.”
The company has been quietly installing systems for a while now – in a California pilot with SolarCity, Tesla batteries are up and running at 300 solar homes and 11 Wal-Mart Stores, reported Bloomberg.
“Instead of pulling electricity from the grid, you discharge it from the battery,” said Mack Wycoff, Wal-Mart’s Senior Manager for Renewable Energy. “Ideally you know when your period of peak demand is, and you discharge it then.”
Other customers include agriculture giant Cargill, which plans a one-megawatt system at a plant in Fresno; Jackson Family Wines, which is installing battery storage and several EV charging stations; and the Temecula Valley Unified School District, which plans to install solar systems at 20 schools, five of them with Tesla batteries.
Stationary storage is a natural fit for Tesla, which has a vested interest in upgrading the electrical grid, and will soon be churning out batteries at its Gigafactory in Nevada. The potential gains are huge – by 2019, US stationary storage sales will reach $1.5 billion, 11 times as much as in 2014, according to GTM Research. The possibilities haven’t gone unnoticed on Wall Street, where TSLA shares have been steadily creeping upward.
“Energy storage on the grid will grow rapidly in combination with renewables,” said CTO JB Straubel. “Eventually you’re going to have a 100 percent battery electric vehicle fleet, working in tandem with an almost 100 percent renewable electric utility grid full of solar and wind.”
Tesla is poised to profit from California’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which offers rebates of as much as 60 percent of the costs of grid-connected storage. Tesla accounts for 70 percent of SGIP storage projects, and is on track to reap as much as $65 million in rebates, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.