Tesla Motors may be only six months away from producing a stationary battery that could be paired with solar panels produced by SolarCity, a company chaired by Tesla Chair Elon Musk and led by his cousin Lyndon Rive.
“The prospect of cheap solar panels combined with powerful batteries has been a source of significant anxiety in the utility sector,” The Verge reports. “One can imagine a day when battery storage technology or micro-turbines could allow customers to be electric grid independent,” the Edison Electric Institute acknowledged in a 2013 report.
Musk announced what The Verge described as a “throwaway side project” during a quarterly earnings call in which the company acknowledged $294 million in losses last year, projected that vehicle deliveries in 2015 will grow 70%, from 35,000 to 55,000, and reported that construction of its Reno, Nevada gigabattery factory is on schedule for a 2016 opening.
“This has been part of the plan for the gigafactory all along,” Dzieza writes. “At an event in New York last fall announcing plans for SolarCity to build a gigantic PV-panel factory, Musk and Rive mentioned that every SolarCity unit would come with battery storage within five to 10 years, and that the systems would supply power at a lower cost than natural gas. Those batteries will come from the gigafactory.”
Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel said the stationary battery market “can scale faster than automotive,” and will take 30% of the battery production from the Reno facility.