When Tesla CEO Elon Musk first unveiled the company’s home battery system, the Powerwall, clean energy advocates literally jumped up and down with joy. Designed to store grid energy for use during blackouts, the battery was also predicted to tip the scales for home solar and wind generation. Due to changes in the grid energy market since Powerwall’s release, that didn’t pan out very well, prompting the company to discontinue its 10kWh version and push forward with only the smaller 7kWh option.
Tesla’s Powerwall system is a wall-mounted rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, and some 38,000 preorders flooded in rapidly after its unveiling. Soon after, Tesla said the product was ‘sold out’ through summer 2016. When the product was first rolled out, it came in two options: a $3,000 7kWh model and a $3,500 10kWh model (not including installation). The larger capacity option was intended to serve as a backup during power outages, virtually eliminating the need for an emergency generator. However, Tesla overestimated the market and it turns out that such a scenario is rare enough in the United States that a battery system like that just isn’t as desirable as the company hoped it would be. So they quietly dumped it.
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Sales of the smaller 7 kWh option, which Tesla calls the “Daily Powerwall,” will continue. That model can also store solar and wind energy and even take advantage of net metering (feeding excess electricity to the grid in exchange for credit), which is a huge selling point for many homeowners looking to get a little more independence from local utility companies. However, the Daily Powerwall can still act as a “backup” just like the 10kWh option by charging up from the grid when utility rates are low, allowing homeowners to switch to battery power when the rates go up. Homeowners can also link up multiple Powerwall batteries to increase storage capacity – if they really need it.
The Powerwall system, which has been out for less than a year, is already priming for version 2.0, according to Musk. At a meeting of Tesla owners in Paris earlier this year, he said the Powerwall Mark II can be expected sometime this summer, though it’s unclear whether consumers can preorder that model at this time. As is standard operating procedure for Tesla products, the public hasn’t learned any details about the update yet, but it’s entirely likely Musk will drop some hints (probably via Twitter) as the time draws nearer.
Via Clean Technica
Images via Tesla Motors and Steve Jurvetson