Lithium-ion batteries have been powering electronic gadgets for decades. They can be found in medical devices, defense systems and most importantly, in our smartphones. However, Tesla is about to change the scale of their capabilities by building one to power households in the city of Los Angeles. And yes, it will be the largest battery of its kind in the world!
The attempt to build the battery comes after Tesla was contracted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for the purpose. It is a consequence of the ruptured natural gas well near Porter Ranch, California, which released almost 97,100 metric tons of heat-trapping methane over 112 days. The facility was later shut down after it was deemed as unfit to store the fuel safely and environmentally.
While the environmental consequences of the leak were catastrophic, it has also left LA without a power facility to fuel the city during peak demand hours.
Which is where Tesla comes in. As pioneers of some of the most innovative and fantastic energy related solutions, Tesla was asked by the CPUC to come up with a solution to the problem. And the solution is literally that — the largest lithium-ion battery solution this world has ever seen. What’s even more interesting, is the fact that Tesla hopes to have it ready and deployed within a three month period — something that Tesla attributes to its massive Gigafactory.
The Gigafactory’s ability to produce at a large scale will allow this system to be manufactured, shipped, installed and commissioned in three months.
Once completed, the system will be the largest of its kind in the world and will also hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles. In numbers, the capacity of the system will stand at a staggering 20 MW/80 MWh. The system will charge using electricity from the main grid during off-peak hours and will then deliver it during peak hours — so kind of like the backup inverters we have at our homes, only HUGE.
Meanwhile, this project will also be Tesla’s chance to exhibit its capabilities — which recently got a boost with Tesla’s Solar City acquisition — to the world, and could potentially open doors to further orders as Tesla delivers innovative and custom solutions to solve specific problems.
In order to achieve a sustainable energy future, one which has high penetration of solar and electric vehicles, the world needs a two-way, flexible electric grid. The electric power industry is the last great industry which has not seen the revolutionary effects of storage. Working in close collaboration with Southern California Edison, the Tesla Powerpack system will be a landmark project that truly heralds the new age of storage on the electric grid.