Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to flip every home into a distributed power plant that might generate, retailer and even ship power again into the electrical energy grid, all utilizing the corporate’s merchandise.
While the corporate has been promoting photo voltaic and power storage merchandise for years, a new firm coverage to solely promote photo voltaic coupled with the power storage merchandise, together with Musk’s feedback Monday, reveal a technique that goals to scale these companies by interesting to utilities.
“This is a prosperous future both for Tesla and for the utilities,” he mentioned. “If this is not done, the utilities will fail to serve their customers. They won’t be able to do it,” Musk mentioned throughout an investor name, noting the rolling blackouts in California final summer season and the newer grid failure in Texas as proof that grid reliability has turn into a greater concern.
Last week, the corporate modified its web site to forestall clients from solely shopping for photo voltaic or its Powerwall power storage product and as a substitute required buying a system. Musk later introduced the transfer in a tweet, stating “solar power will feed exclusively to Powerwall” and that “Powerwall will interface only between utility meter and house main breaker panel, enabling super simple install and seamless whole house backup during utility dropouts.”
Musk’s pitch is that the grid would want extra power traces, extra power vegetation and bigger substations to totally decarbonize utilizing renewables plus storage. Distributed residential programs — in fact utilizing Tesla merchandise — would offer a higher path, in Musk’s view. His declare has been backed up partially by latest research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which discovered that the U.S. can attain a zero-carbon grid by greater than doubling its transmission capability, and one other from Princeton University exhibiting that the nation may have to triple its transmission programs by 2050 to attain net-zero emissions.
Musk is imagining a radically totally different electrical energy grid system than the one we’ve got right this moment, which is centrally managed and run by grid operators, impartial organizations such because the California Independent System Operator or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. It’s a imaginative and prescient that’s riddled with bureaucratic and logistical challenges. Utilities and regulatory coverage would want to remedy how to deal with a massive inflow of so-called “distributed energy resources,” comparable to photo voltaic panels on residential roofs, which can run opposite to utilities’ long-established business fashions.
It’s necessary to be aware that whether or not renewables-plus-storage shall be alone adequate to decarbonize the power grid is a contentious query. Many consultants believing that the land use calls for, storage necessities and intermittency problems with renewables might make their position because the nation’s main electrical energy generator a pipe dream. But Musk has lengthy been bullish on the renewables-plus-storage mannequin, tweeting final July that “physics favors electric transport, batteries for stationary storage & solar/wind for energy generation.”