Tesla is planning to give the world, one of its largest roof- mounted solar installation. The U.S. electric vehicle maker is planning to build a a 70-megawatt solar farm to power its battery manufacturing Gigafactory at Nevada. Tesla also announced that it had started the production of battery cells at the facility and the Gigafactory will be a zero net energy consumer.
It is being reported that the Gigafactory will be powered solely through its own green energy resources and will not directly consume any fossil fuels. The solar installation will provide most of the power needed by the facility. But it will not be an easy job to power a facility as big as the Gigafactory, considering the huge build up area.
According to estimates, the factory could consume up to 2,400 MWh each day if running at full-tilt. This puts Tesla in quite a fix. Which is exactly where the solar farm comes in. According to the plan, any excess power generated during the time when the factory is not running, will be stored in Tesla Power pack power storage batteries. The excess power can be put into use at other times.
The solar panels will be produced by SolarCity, which was acquired by Tesla, last year.
Lombardo and Elon Musk, the main people associated with the project, have come up with some interesting techniques for the functioning of the Gigafactory. Lombardo says that a setup of about 85 windmills would generate around 1,836 MWh of energy, which combined with other sources of energy would be able to put the Gigafactory well past its 2,400 MWh needs. Musk goes on to say that even geothermal energy could be leveraged to play a role in allowing the factory to produce 20% more energy than needed.
Tesla says that having an all-electric facility would allow for greater efficiency and zero carbon emissions. Also, much of the building’s heating would be provided by the waste heat from the battery manufacturing process. An on site battery reprocessing facility will also enable most of the company’s battery cells to be recycled into new cells on site.
Tesla expects that when the phase 2 of the Gigafactory is completed, the facility will produce up to 35 GWh of battery cells and 50 GWh of battery packs each year. The yearly production of battery cells would be sufficient to provide power storage for 500,000 Model 3 cars and hopefully allow it to meet the surging demands for electric vehicles.