Tesla CEO Elon Musk desires to show each house right into a distributed energy plant that will generate, retailer and even ship power again into the electrical energy grid, all utilizing the corporate’s merchandise.
Whereas the corporate has been promoting photo voltaic and power storage merchandise for years, a brand 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 can be a affluent future each for Tesla and for the utilities,” he mentioned. “If this isn’t performed, the utilities will fail to serve their clients. They received’t be capable to do it,” Musk mentioned throughout an investor name, noting the rolling blackouts in California final summer time and the more moderen grid failure in Texas as proof that grid reliability has change into a much bigger concern.
Final week, the corporate modified its web site to stop 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 energy will feed completely to Powerwall” and that “Powerwall will interface solely between utility meter and home essential breaker panel, enabling tremendous easy set up and seamless entire home backup throughout utility dropouts.”
Musk’s pitch is that the grid would wish extra energy strains, extra energy vegetation and bigger substations to completely decarbonize utilizing renewables plus storage. Distributed residential programs — in fact utilizing Tesla merchandise — would supply a greater 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 displaying that the nation might must triple its transmission programs by 2050 to succeed in net-zero emissions.
Musk is imagining a radically completely different electrical energy grid system than the one we now have at present, which is centrally managed and run by grid operators, unbiased organizations such because the California Impartial System Operator or the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas. It’s a imaginative and prescient that’s riddled with bureaucratic and logistical challenges. Utilities and regulatory coverage would wish to unravel how you can deal with a big inflow of so-called “distributed power sources,” comparable to photo voltaic panels on residential roofs, which can run opposite to utilities’ long-established enterprise fashions.
It’s vital to notice that whether or not renewables-plus-storage will likely be alone ample to decarbonize the power grid is a contentious query. Many specialists 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. However Musk has lengthy been bullish on the renewables-plus-storage mannequin, tweeting final July that “physics favors electrical transport, batteries for stationary storage & photo voltaic/wind for power technology.”