After Professor Dr. Eicke R. Weber, the Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy highlighted the importance of improving solar energy storage at the opening of the Intersolar North America Conference 2015, JB Straubel, Tesla’s co-founder and CTO claimed that his company was the “tipping point” for energy storage.
Considering the emphasis that Tesla has given to investigating and coming up with new methods of using renewable energy, Straubel’s assertion is not an overstatement. Tesla doesn’t only pride itself on the design and manufacture of electric cars and other vehicle electric programs it also prides itself on how it has taken energy storage to a whole new level.
According to the exec, there are around 60,000 Tesla cars in the world today. These cars combined amount to 5 gigawatts hour in terms of energy storage. This number is significant considering that Tesla cars comprise less than 0.01% of all the cars in existence globally.
Tesla’s goal is how to include to the maximum the concept of sustainability in the field of transportation. Although most people think of Tesla as the “company that makes electric cars”, Straubel stated that that’s just one part of the equation. Connecting and synchronizing the concept of renewable energy, energy storage, and adequate transportation has been the holistic treatment that Tesla has given to its core business.
Tesla’s exec foresees that in the future there will be a turning point when electric cars will be the norm. Taking into account that oil reserves are in decline and the price of oil is expected to increase according to the law of supply and demand, it’s no wonder there’s a relative high chance of that happening.
Due to innovations, the costs of electric car batteries should decrease in the next few years. Along with that, energy storage rates are thought to increase as stated by Professor Eicke at the beginning of the Intersolar North America Conference 2015. Tesla has plans be the next leader in the market once it is more economically wise to ride an electric car than one powered by fossil fuels. This without even taking into considerations the environmental benefits of this technology.
Recently, Tesla has announced that it will include solar batteries in its electric cars. This move will reduce battery costs by 30% according to the firm. If we take into consideration that in Australia more than 20% of homes are powered with solar energy and that “every three minutes a person in California is going solar” as declared by Bernadette del Chiaro, Executive Director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, it’s not hard to see a clear trend that will make a shift in the way transportation is fueled in the near future.
On top of car innovations, Tesla has also entered in the home electricity market. It currently advertises and sells the Powerpack and the Powerwall, two powerful energy storage devices that store energy to be used at homes at night. If there’s one thing that Tesla is characterized by is its “out of the box” mentality. For this reason, Tesla won’t stop with solar energy. In fact, that’s just the beginning. Wind energy and other types of “green” energy sources will be analyzed and used by the company in order to continue being the “tipping point” on energy storage and efficiency in the world.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.