Tesla just completed construction on what it claims is the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world. The facility is located at in Ontario, California and it consists of 396 Tesla powerpacks that can store 80 megawatt-hours of electricity – that’s enough to power over 2,500 households for a day or 15,000 households for four hours.
Tesla nabbed the contract to build the battery storage facility for Southern California Edison in September 2016, and it was completed by the end of that year. The project consists of two 10 megawatt systems – each made of 198 Tesla Powerpacks and 24 inverters – connected to two different circuits at the Mira Loma Substation.
Tesla Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel said “Storage is quite a new thing…and this is a different breed of battery. This is the tip of the iceberg of how much storage we’ll see on the grid.”
SCE said the facility would allow them to draw more on clean energies like solar power. When clean energy projects produce more electricity than the utility needs, it can now be stores and utilized during peak hours.
The Tesla battery storage facility seems like the perfect answer to our energy issues, but MIT Technology Review points out lithium batteries are still expensive, and no one has said how much the facility cost. It’s also not clear how many cycles the Powerpack batteries can go through before they begin to degrade – MIT estimates 5,000 cycles, which would work well in a home but not as well in a grid setting.
At the ribbon-cutting, SCE CEO Kevin Payne said, “This project is part of our vision at SCE to take advantage of the wind and the sun, and operate a flexible grid that delivers clean energy to power our homes, our businesses, and our vehicles. Standing here today among these Tesla Powerpacks is a great reminder of how fast technology is changing the electric power industry and the opportunities that will come with it.”
Images via Ernesto Sanchez/Edison International