SolarCity roof tile-replacing solar panelsEnlarge Photo
Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA] CEO Elon Musk on Friday unveiled two new products, one from Tesla and another from SolarCity, the solar home installation firm Tesla is hoping to acquire and headed by Musk’s cousin Lyndon Rive.
Tesla’s new product is a second-generation Powerwall home energy storage system while SolarCity’s product is a new type of solar panel that replaces the actual tiles most roofs are constructed from.
The Powerwall 2.0 has a revised look but more importantly it has double the capacity of the original Powerwall unveiled in May 2015, now registering at 14.0 kilowatt-hours. It’s priced at $5,500 and will be available for installation by early December.
Musk said a fully charged Powerwall 2.0 is enough to power the lights, sockets and refrigerator for a four-bedroom house for a day. For additional power needs, multiple units can be installed.
Tesla has also updated its Powerpack commercial-size energy storage system. It’s received a new energy module and new power electronics including an inverter. It also now provides twice the energy density, as well as a more seamless integration into multiple levels of the energy grid.
Tesla Powerwall 2.0Enlarge Photo
Tesla has revealed that utilities Southern California Edison and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative have already ordered its latest Powerpacks. The Powerpack systems for these two projects are being built now at Tesla’s Gigafactory plant in Nevada and, when deployed later this year, will be the two largest lithium-ion battery storage installations in the world.
As for SolarCity’s new roof title-like solar panels, the individual units have been designed to mimic four popular roof tile styles and are said to be more durable too. Musk demonstrated this during his presentation by showing a video of a heavy weight being dropped on one of the panels (see video below). The same weight was shown to destroy ordinary roof tiles while leaving the solar panel intact.
The panels are to be built by Tesla partner Panasonic at a plant in Buffalo, New York. Musk was short on pricing and availability details but said the new panels make sense for anyone constructing a new roof.
As originally stated during its June acquisition announcement of SolarCity, Tesla’s goal is to become the “world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers.”
In a nutshell, the company wants to offer electricity generation via solar panels, storage via batteries and usage via cars. But traditional electric utilities shouldn’t worry just yet. Musk said that as most cars switch to electric power, electricity production will need to increase to a point where about one third comes from solar panels and the remaining two thirds from traditional utilities.