Gigafactory: Tesla Teases Plan to Triple Battery Business and Support Solar
Tesla is planning big boosts to its battery business. A Monday report detailing the company’s Gigafactory in the Nevada desert claims that Tesla is working to triple the size of this sector to ship more of products like the Powerpack, used by businesses and other organizations to store renewable energy and provide a dependable source of power.
Chris Lister, vice president of operations for the Gigafactory, told the Reno Gazette Journal that while a lot of discussion around its battery efforts have focused on electric vehicles like the Model 3, “the energy products are a significant part of our business.” Tesla has made a number of high-profile moves in this area, like the 100-megawatt installation in South Australia that claimed the title of world’s largest battery when it was completed last November. On the smaller scale, its Powerwall 2 offers 13.5 kilowatt-hours of storage for homes using locally-generated energy, for example from the Tesla Solar Roof.
The Gigafactory, which also produces batteries for Tesla’s electric cars, plays a big role in these operations. It covers 5.4 million square feet at the time of writing, currently producing around 20 gigawatt-hours of capacity, but that’s just 30 percent of its potential full size. When complete, it will produce 35 gigawatt-hours of storage per year, enough to transition one percent of the world’s energy onto renewables. At the 2016 shareholders’ meeting, CEO Elon Musk stated that it could send planned output soaring to 105 gigawatt-hours of cells and 150 gigawatt-hours of battery packs.
For the energy storage division of the company alone, business is soaring. During the company’s July earnings call, Musk stated that the company has deployed one gigawatt-hour of energy storage total in the division’s three-year history, and it’s projected to reach its second gigawatt-hour in less than a year. These figures are set to rise further, and Musk predicted that “for many years to come, each incremental year will be about as much as all of the preceding years” for its total storage deployments. The segment accounted for 12 percent of Tesla’s revenue in the first quarter of 2018.
The company has big plans for future deployments. It’s already working with the South Australian government on the second phase of a 250-megawatt “virtual power plant,” comprised of a five-kilowatt solar array and 13.5-kilowatt battery for 50,000 homes. The collection will work together as one, bringing energy prices down further.
Related video: Tesla Takes the Wraps Off Its South Australian Power Pack