The combination of photovoltaic plants and storage technology has long been one of the most important solutions in regard to the volatility of solar energy: when the sun shines during the day, excess energy is stored for the dark hours e.g. in the evening and night times. Thereby, not only the amount of private (in-house) consumption is increased but also the electricity grid experiences relief. Thus: a very good idea indeed. Unfortunately, so far many have perceived storages as not economically attractive enough.
Change in this particular regard, however, seems to now just linger around the corner and it might entail exciting developments to the market for solar energy storage units. Tesla Motors, an e-car manufacturer, has recently presented a lithium-ion battery named “Powerwall” for domestic use which has been hailed for its very low price by the press: with 3.000 US dollar for 7 kWh it is sold at a price remarkably lower than the current market price for solar energy storage units – among others made possible by Tesla’s mass production. Consequently, Asian manufacturers are expected to adapt their prices soon and hence, “Powerwall” will influence the market for photovoltaic storage units. What is further remarkable about this new Tesla item is the possibility to install it inside and outside – an interesting advantage as outside installation can reduce problems regarding fire hazards.
Apart from all positive aspects, however, some central questions have not been fully answered: what will consumers have to pay for example (particularly after the first load has been sold)? So far only wholesale prices seem to be known and thus, it appears difficult to finalize assumptions about the large-scale effects and the widespread use of “Powerwall” in private households. Moreover, details about costs for e.g. energy management, connection costs and a.c. converter are lacking, at least in precision. How competitive might the price be then if all this is included? What can be said in addition about the cycle life time as an example for technically relevant details?
While of course it would be desirable to claim that a new age of solar battery storages has started with the release of this quite affordable option and it would be more than neat to thereby provide new impetus to the photovoltaic sector again, facing the remaining uncertainties it seems difficult to join media’s jubilation – at least, not just yet.