Tesla is widely expected to introduce a pair of new battery technologies later this week: a battery for the home and a "very large scale utility battery." A new report from The Guardian suggests that the home battery could be leased to customers on similar terms to an existing, experimental scheme from solar panel provider SolarCity — a company with extremely close ties to Tesla.
Tesla's batteries can power a house during an outage
Customers pay SolarCity an initial fee of $1,500 for a Tesla battery, followed by monthly payments of $15 for the next 10 years, reports The Guardian. This makes for a cost of $3,300 to the customers — which compares favorably to the battery's $13,000 price reported by the newspaper. Tesla monitors data from the systems with the customer's permission, and reclaiming them after a decade of use. The batteries are available in 10 or 15 kWh configurations, and are large enough to power a home's lights, refrigerator, internet, and other appliances during a power outage. Home batteries can store energy from renewable sources or from the grid during off-peak hours, with reports of Tesla's system circulating since last year.
Around 300 customers have already installed Tesla's batteries in their homes, reports The Guardian. "It’s clean, it’s quiet and it looks good in the garage," investment analyst Trip Chowdhry told the newspaper, adding that the system appeals to customers who want a constant connection to the internet. "If you are a gadget person living a digital life — you have iPhones and computers and you always want to be connected — the storage battery is a dream come true."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is currently planning for SolarCity and Tesla's lithium-ion batteries to be manufactured in a vast US "gigafactory," set to open in 2017. Musk is both the chairman and a major investor in SolarCity, and his cousin, Lyndon Rive, is the company's CEO. If SolarCity's experiment with Tesla's home batteries has been successful, then we might see a similar scheme unveiled this Thursday, April 30th, at an event at Tesla's Hawthorne Design Studio in California.