Electric car maker Tesla has unveiled batteries that can power businesses and homes, claiming that two billion battery packs could power the world.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk explained that Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, combined with a liquid thermal control system and software, that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter.
The Powerwall, so-called because it can be wall mounted, has been designed to harvest up to 10kWh from renewable solar energy to power a house during times when higher demand on the grid increases electricity prices.
The battery pack can also serve as backup power in the event of mains failure, and store solar energy to be consumed on days when the sun is not shining.
Tesla will sell the Powerwall to device installers for $3,500 (£2,275) for 10kWh units and $3,000 (£1,954) for 7KwH units.
Tesla also revealed a larger 100kWh battery pack designed to help utilities companies store excess energy generated through wind and solar power to be discharged when it is needed, effectively smoothing out the delivery of renewable energy to the grid.
Musk said that two billion Powerwall batteries could store enough electricity to meet the entire world’s requirements.
“That may seem like an insane number,” he stated. “But this is actually within the power of humanity to do.”
The Powerwall is essentially a reworked version of Tesla’s electric powertrain architecture for cars. The company can start shipping the batteries in the US this year and has plans to expand the availability internationally in 2016.
Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said that battery storage systems like the Powerwall could disrupt traditional fossil fuel power supplies.
“The potential for competitive energy storage, whether household or utility scale, is another nail in the coffin of conventional utilities,” she said.
Tesla is working with Amazon to explore the use of the new batteries to power the infrastructure that supports the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.
Amazon has ambitions to have AWS running on 100 percent renewable energy across its global footprint, and already has carbon-neutral regions in Oregon, Frankfurt and AWS GovCloud in the US.
James Hamilton, distinguished engineer at AWS, said that Amazon has been working with Tesla over the past year to find ways to use battery technology to support its data centres.
“Batteries are important for data centre reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power,” he said.
“They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data centre’s constant power demands. We’re excited to roll out a 4.8MWh pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries in our US west, northern California region.”
AWS is no doubt exploring renewable energy options to support its cloud platform after Greenpeace criticised the firm for the use of fossil fuel in its data centres.