Will Tesla revolutionise renewables for the housing industry?
Tesla Motors is an American automaker and energy storage company that strives to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport as well as energy innovation. The brand, which was founded in 2003 by young entrepreneur Elon Musk has just debuted in the Interbrand’s top 100 brands ranking 2016 occupying 100th place. Elon Musk is a business magnate, investor and inventor. He is the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, chairman of SolarCity and founder and CEO and CTO of SpaceX. The goals of the companies he is involved in revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. The crucial part of his vision is to develop sustainable energy production in order to fully replace the use of sources that are disruptive to the Earth’s ecology.
Tesla has already started changing the automotive industry by furthering the development of electric cars and increasing their popularity. The company’s main plan for the future is to offer electric cars at prices that are affordable to the average consumer. Perhaps, it is not the only industry that Tesla may be able to revolutionise in the following years.
One of the biggest challenges within the industry of electric cars is creating a battery which requires minimal charging. Tesla had to invest a lot of time and money into the development of a battery with outstanding technology. Using this technology in the field of renewable energy appears to be the next step. Recently the company announced their newest work on integrated solar. So, now it is time to ask the question: “will Tesla change the renewable energy industry for housing?”.
Tesla started in the housing renewable energy industry in 2015, with the release of Powerwall – a battery that can be paired with a home’s solar panel system to gather the energy from the sun. This energy is stored by Powerwall and then used to power the home throughout the evening. Although it sounds really promising, the capacity of the first Powerwall model was not big enough to provide energy for more than a few hours, especially when the weather is not favourable. The first Powerwall version offered home storage for either 7kWH (for $,3000) or 10kWh (for $3,500). However, this price does not take into account the cost of installation and the switchgear needed to make the Powerwall work. The same year, Tesla also released an industrial battery pack called Powerpack. This was used within the facilities of companies such as Amazon and Wallmart.
The introduction of products such as Powerwall and Powerpack demonstrated Tesla’s interest in expanding their sustainability profile to renewable energy storage. This is further confirmed by Tesla’s recent plans to purchase SolarCity, a company leading in solar energy services. “By joining forces, we can operate more efficiently and fully integrate our products, while providing customers with an aesthetically beautiful and simple one-stop solar and storage experience” – Musk announced on Tesla’s blog.
On the 28th of October 2016, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk announced that his company is becoming more involved within the industry of renewables for housing. At a Tesla solar roof event co-organised with SolarCity, he revealed the ground-breaking project of solar roofing. This will look like ordinary roof tiles, however they will be made of textured glass, allowing light to pass through onto the solar cells which are installed under them. The tempered glass is made of quartz and is much more durable than traditional roof tiles. The aesthetic side of the four presented designs is very appealing. During the event, Musk also announced the second version of Powerwall. Powerwall 2 in contrast to its predecessor, has the potential to be a game changer. It has double the capacity of the older version (14kWH), and can provide power to a two-bedroom home for a full day. Everything for $5,500 plus the price for the switchgear and installation fee.
The capacity of the second version of Powerwall will be significantly higher than competitors’ devices as well as its price will be lower than competitors’ products. Musk declared that the overall cost of the installation of Tesla’s solar tiles with the new Powerwall 2 battery will still be less than the installation of a regular roof, if you take into account the cost for paying for fossil fuels from the electrical company. You can see the video from the solar roof event here:
Tesla’s vision is to create an integrated sustainable energy future. This consists of three pieces. The first is a solar roof that will gather sustainable energy from a more aesthetically pleasing and durable roof than its traditional predecessor. The second piece is the Powerwall 2 storage system, this will gather and store the energy from any source, and then use it when it is most needed. The third piece is electric vehicles. These are a crucial factor in encouraging the use of sustainable energy. All three elements are designed to be environmentally friendly and reduce the costs to the consumer. “We need to make solar panels as appealing as electric cars have become” – Musk announced during the Solar Roof event, which sounds like a promise of a full involvement in the housing renewables industry.
Allan’s comment and prediction regarding the article topic:
What Tesla has done for the motor industry in the last couple of years is breathtaking, it has dragged an industry dependant on fossil fuel into cleaner, energy efficient, forward-thinking times. The fact that Elon Musk has now turned his attention to the housing sector, can only be good news for selfbuilders and the environment as a whole! I hope that the national house builders and some UK based entrepreneurs take notice and start looking at how smart technologies can be used in all areas of house building. I know our team are very excited by the developments and we cant wait to utilise some of the new Tesla products on our future self-build projects.