Nikola Tesla had a dream, a vision you might say, of the wireless transmission of electricity and although he was not successful at achieving that dream, he was a visionary in the field giving us many of the inventions that are a part of our daily lives today. What does Nikola Tesla have to do with our battery-powered lives, you ask? I’ll get to that in a moment.
Energy, especially electricity, has become the most indispensable commodity of the modern age. From air conditioning, to electric light, to that pocket computer (cell phone) that many of you are reading this article on right now, electricity makes it happen. Many of us in modern society can go longer without food and water than we can without electricity. That being said, tethering ourselves to a wall outlet is not a viable option in today’s society either. This has spurred a boom in battery production, research and advancement. Storing electricity has become a vital asset, whether it is in your phone battery, your new electric car or as an emergency back-up for corporate data system.
There is also a cottage industry for the preparedness-minded among us, some are called preppers and some are just looking for a way to save money on their energy bills. In-home battery systems are gaining popularity and may be about to fast-track into the mainstream. Many have tried to supplement their energy needs with wind and solar power, but both have their drawbacks such as the times when the sun is not out or the wind isn’t blowing. Batteries allow them to store that power for those times to bridge the gap, but current battery systems can be bulky and expensive.
Improving technology, falling prices and backing from electric-car giant Tesla could soon make the battery-powered home cheaper and easier than ever, challenging the long-held utility model of dependence on outside energy. In a letter sent to investors and analysts, the electric car company said it will announce a “home battery” and a “very large utility scale battery” during its highly anticipated April 30 event. The event will be held at Tesla’s Hawthorne, California, Design Studio on April 30 at 8 p.m. PT. Although there are other home battery systems already on the market, costing as much as $50,000, it is rumored that the Tesla home battery system could be as little as $13,000. It could be combined with solar or just store electricity at night when regular electric rates are cheaper to be used during the day during higher rate periods.
I have followed “green energy” proposed solutions for quite some time and have never seen it as viable from a large-scale production standpoint. That being said, if homes begin to retrofit with solar panels and batteries, if new construction builders pick up this trend, it could very easily be the “green energy” solution we have been looking for all these years. When the grid begins generating and storing the power on its own, then large power generating stations will become obsolete. Granted, there are those within the power generation industry who do not view this potential shift favorably and there is sure to be some resistance if these current trends continue.