Experts agree that grid storage batteries like the Tesla Powerpack are the key to making renewables the first choice for new electrical capacity. Batteries can accept input when the sun is shining or the winds are blowing and save it for use later when the sun goes down or the breezes abate. Grid storage can also provide extra capacity when it is needed. Instead of cold starting a fossil fueled generating plant when demand peaks, batteries can provide the extra power needed without adding carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.
This week, Tesla announced that it began shipping the second generation of its Powerpack grid storage batteries in September. The Powerpack 2.0 has doubled the energy density of the original Powerpack — to about 200 kWh per unit. It also has a new energy module and power electronics. Tesla has designed a new inverter in-house and is now manufacturing that component at its Gigafactory in Nevada.
In a blog post this week, the company says, “It is the lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market. It also significantly simplifies the installation process of the entire Powerpack system by integrating a number of previously independent components into the inverter itself.”
Tesla goes on to say, “The combined system is now a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions such as building larger substations, bigger wires and more power plants. Furthermore, the Powerpack system interface and software controls give utilities and grid operators high fidelity control, allowing for better energy management and dispatch, which improves grid performance, efficiency and reliability at a low cost.”
Tesla’s energy storage business is growing rapidly. Nearly 300 megawatt-hours of grid storage batteries have now been in installed in 18 countries around the world. Tesla says it expects the impact of its power storage products will be greater than that provided by its electric cars eventually. It sees itself as a key part of transitioning the world to 100% renewable energy and retiring all existing fossil fuel generating plants.
Tesla has recently been awarded the contract for the world’s largest grid storage battery project at Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma substation where its batteries will help reduce or eliminate rolling blackouts that are common in the area. It is also providing grid storage products to the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative in Hawaii.
On October 28, Tesla will unveil its new solar roof project that it expects will revolutionize the rooftop solar industry for residential and small business customers.