Silicon Valley Iron Man takes another shot, this time Musk wants to turn your home into a “power plant”

Judging from the current situation, for many people, power outages exist in the stories of others. The power outage that I am personally impressed with was caused by a large-scale natural disaster such as the 2008 snow disaster.

At that time, every family bought a lot of candles for lighting. As a child, I was naturally bored because of the lack of electricity. The power outages that lasted for many days also caused a lot of economic losses. The importance of electricity as a basic living facility is self-evident.

At that time, I would secretly imagine that if I had a generator, there would be no power failure.

No, Musk, known as the "Silicon Valley Iron Man" recently, has made a bold statement, saying that he will transform individual households into small power plants and feed back the public grid.

Musk wants to turn your home into a "power plant"

It sounds a bit weird to transform every household into a power plant, but in fact, Musk and Tesla have been preparing for this for many years, and the corresponding market has always existed.

This also starts in 2015, when Tesla launched an energy storage battery Powerwall. The installed capacity reached 6.4kWh at a price of $3,000, and the continuous peak energy reached 2kW. Moreover, with the solar roof module, the battery can also be used. Repeated use can also expand the capacity by stacking multiple batteries.

▲ Tesla Powerwall

After the first generation of Powerwall was released, it attracted a lot of attention. After experiencing it, Forbes said that the comprehensive calculation of the product and solar panels is 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is higher than the US average electricity bill of 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is only suitable for Used as an alternative power source for large-scale natural disasters.

Although the evaluation was average, Tesla responded quickly. In 2016, Powerwall 2 was launched. The hardware literacy has been improved a lot. Not only did the installed capacity reach 13.5kWh, but the continuous peak value also reached 5kW, and the total throughput was 37.8 MWh. , And the battery life cycle is longer, except for solar self-consumption and backup, it is almost unlimited.

Tesla also provides a warranty of 10 years, prices have increased some, but also longer life cycle, and even Finland media after evaluation represents the lowest price Powerwall under 10 year warranty cases can reach 17 cents.

Although this is higher than the average electricity price in the United States, it is still worthwhile for users in remote areas or areas with large electricity consumption. After all, the electricity prices in the United States are not uniform, and electricity prices in some areas are already higher than 17 cents.

In addition, Musk recently said that it will strengthen the newly produced Powerwall, its maximum power has reached 9.6kW, and the nominal battery capacity is still 13.5kWh.

According to electric reports , Harmon Electric & Solar, a solar company that recently installed Powerwalls, and Dan King, a user who owns Powerwalls and solar roofs, announced his real usage through video. A company in Arizona, USA consumes electricity for a day on Sundays. 56.7 kWh, which can be fully covered during the solar roof power generation period.

Although it is not possible to fully cover the electricity demand when there is no sun, there is still a large demand for the combination of Powerwall energy storage batteries and solar roofs in Arizona, where the weather environment is not good and the public grid is not stable.

But Powerwall installed capacity has not increased as rapidly imagination, one is in short supply at many times its price rise, but also Tesla recently announced Powerwall bundling with solar power roof, further price increases .

On the other hand, due to the different building design methods of individual households on the roof, it has increased the difficulty of laying solar panels. Musk said that if the roof has protrusions, structural problems or insufficient strength to lay solar panels, the laying cost may be the original estimate This is one of the reasons for Tesla’s price increase.

Of course, it is not without a solution to the problem of high costs caused by price increases. First, Tesla will compensate users who have signed a contract with a Powerwall, and secondly, it also stated that users who install and install Powerwall and solar roofs can actually access public utilities. Power grid.

In this way, the electric energy stored by solar power generation can be used as a supplement to the public grid, which is equivalent to a capacity expansion. It is still very meaningful in areas with high electricity consumption. On the other hand, users can gain income by sharing electric energy and reduce the battery system's cost. Early cost.

Turning every household into a "power plant" sounds like a win-win result, but how much cost can actually be compensated, and whether the model can run, still need to look at the actual performance.

Selling batteries is a good business

The shortfall in supply has led to product price increases, which well reflects the product strength of the Powerwall solar energy storage and power generation product portfolio, and also means that this market is growing. Musk has also said that Tesla's energy business may surpass the electric vehicle business.

Moreover, the household energy storage battery market is only a corner of the entire energy market. The broader market is the corporate and institutional markets. Compared with the complex scenes of the household market and the high sensitivity to prices, the corporate market is more direct.

Excessive dependence on the public grid has always been one of the problems that many manufacturing companies hope to solve. After all, there are huge economic losses under natural disasters. The establishment of a power plant through high-capacity energy storage batteries and solar power generation equipment is undoubtedly one of the solutions. One.

And the International Energy Agency has also confirmed that solar energy is one of the cheapest sources of electricity in history.

▲Large energy storage system composed of multiple Megapacks batteries

Some time ago, Apple spent US$50 million to purchase a batch of large-scale energy storage batteries Megapacks dedicated to enterprises and public institutions from Tesla. Its capacity reached 3 MKh. Like Powerwall, it can also be expanded through multiple combinations. capacity.

According to The verge, Apple purchased a total of 85 Megapacks to form a battery energy storage system. In conjunction with Apple's solar power farm in California, the maximum energy storage reached 240 MWh, enough for 7,000 households to use for a day.

Apple also stated in a related press release that the use of solar power generation and energy storage batteries is conducive to reducing carbon emissions, coupled with cooperation with supply chain companies, is conducive to faster reaching Apple's goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

This is also what many companies desire. After all, most governments around the world have introduced relevant environmental protection policies, and their efforts are getting stronger and stronger, which also involves products such as carbon credits that directly involve monetary benefits.

Carbon credits are one of the by-products of the environmental protection policies of the European Union and many governments. In order to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality as soon as possible, the country has implemented a quota system for enterprises. Once the emission of carbon dioxide or exhaust gas exceeds the available quota, high expenditures are required. Taxes.

And Tesla, a company that mainly focuses on energy storage batteries and electric vehicles, has less carbon emissions and has accumulated a lot of carbon credits. Companies that do not have enough carbon emissions quotas each year will offset them by purchasing carbon credits. purpose.

Tesla’s first quarter 2021 financial report released not long ago mentioned that although its energy business sales reached 494 million U.S. dollars, it was still not profitable, and carbon credits created revenue of 520 million U.S. dollars for it, plus The $100 million in profit from the reduction of Bitcoin held Tesla's profit in the first quarter turned into a profit.

This shows the lucrative nature of carbon credits, and domestic new energy companies can make profits through carbon credits. The Geek Park report also mentioned that Weilai founder Li Bin said that carbon credits will be sold in 2021.

On the consumer side, the demand for energy storage battery Powerwall has not yet been fully satisfied, and building its own solar power plant or energy storage battery portfolio on the enterprise side is of great significance to the company’s own carbon neutrality. For companies like Tesla In terms of carbon credits to generate revenue, it can be said that buying batteries is a good business.

"Household Power Plant", on the road

Through energy products such as Powerwall and Megapacks, Tes envisions a world that is almost the opposite of today's life. In the past, it relied on the public power grid, which was uniformly deployed by the government or public institutions, and consumers paid for it.

Tesla, on the other hand, hopes to build a distributed power grid through energy storage batteries and solar power generation systems. Every household is a power plant. After connecting to the public grid, it will be further deployed to ensure that every household can use electricity. At the same time, it also relies on solar energy, a clean energy source, to decarbonize the grid.

Tesla even envisages only using solar power in a part of the area to meet the electricity demand of the entire United States, so that areas with sufficient sunlight can be selected as power plants, and the extra electricity converted can be stored in energy storage batteries. Use at night or when the sun is insufficient.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has conducted a similar study . The results of the study show that the electricity demand in the United States can be met by the current zero-carbon technology, and solar power generation and energy storage batteries are an important part of the zero-carbon technology.

Another Princeton study showed that the United States will not be able to achieve zero carbon until 2050. Although this type of vision has been partially recognized, and many studies have provided support, the controversy that has arisen is not small. Distributed power plants It must be better than centralized management. The answer is not so clear.

At this stage, zero-carbon technology still has a considerable period of development. It is more of a supplement to the public grid. For example, the Moss Landing Power Plant in Monterey County, the United States, uses Megapacks. The battery expands the power grid.

As for the "home power plant" envisioned by Tes, it is believed that with the further decline of battery prices, the barriers to entry will be lowered. In the past few years, with the development of technology, the price of batteries has dropped a lot, from $1,000 per kilowatt in 2010. Time has dropped to less than US$200 per kilowatt-hour today.

For some areas in the United States with sparsely populated areas or high electricity prices, the use of Powerwall and solar energy to build household power plants may increase, and even with the decline in average electricity prices, it will become popular in more areas and even become an important component of the power grid. section.

At that time, the illusion that your childhood home was a power plant and that there is no electricity will become a reality.

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