Tesla’s Efforts for Renewable Energy Future
Renewable energy as a source of power has been around for some times, yet its development and expansion cannot be considered fast. The main concern that hampers its way to become massively used is its cost. Power grid from renewable energy tends to be very expensive that not many people can afford it. However, Tesla Motors, automotive and energy storage company, will help to deploy renewable energy to businesses and domestic sectors in an affordable cost through its inexpensive lithium-ion batteries.
According to Tesla Motors in its official blog, they are going to build a battery factory called the “Gigafactory”. The “Gigafactory” is a project to supply Tesla’s electric car production. As Tesla reach its goal to create a mass market electric car, its demand for lithium-ion batteries as electric cars’ main energy source is inevitable. With the expensive lithium-ion battery available today, the goal will be hard to reach. Therefore, through achieving economies of scale, this huge battery factory will boost battery production greatly and drive down the cost per-kilowatt by around 30%. The mass production would make the battery cost around $3000, a good cost for today’s standard.
Tesla’s batteries will be available not only for automotive industry, but also for businesses and domestic use—especially homes. It will bring renewable energy to businesses and homes since the “Gigafactory” will have its own renewable energy sources to fill the battery’s power from solar and wind power generator near the factory. Less expensive electrical storage acts like a conventional power plant. This would help companies to provide power at night without relying on public power grid. The battery could also serve some appliances and equipment needs in the office. Homes could get more power from this inexpensive batteries. With the ability of batteries that can store at the average 35 kW of power, they could power lights, appliances, and much more that a home needs each day. It is likely to be more possible for homes to be 100% off-grid.
Pursuing more efficient battery is not Tesla’s monopoly. A startup company called Ambri is also developing a new battery, a liquid metal battery, which is claimed to be less expensive and last longer than common lithium-ion battery. Ambri’s battery cells are made of salt and two metal layer electrodes. This battery is expected to have a lifespan of at least 20 years. From internal testing at Ambri’s lab, this battery retains the same capacity after more than 2000 cycles of powering and draining.
Renewable energy source such as solar and wind energy will continue to be a trending topic among energy industry and risk management experts. It is true that today, renewable energy cost is still higher than coal-fired electricity. Solar and wind energy system are too expensive that nearly impossible to make profit out of it. But with more companies looking for ways to make renewable energy become more efficient, the cost will be more competitive. In the future, although we may not see houses not connected to the grid, but it would more likely that the grid will be the backup system.