Tesla is most well known for making electric cars, but the company is betting that it can become an all-in-one provider of green energy solutions. The battery technology it has engineered for its vehicles can be neatly repurposed for other scenarios, like storing energy that a local utility generates from new renewable projects.
Thicc battery — As such, Tesla sells a massive version of its battery in the Megapack, a container-sized battery system that can store 3 MWh of energy and that includes integrated modules, inverters, and thermal systems. It’s essentially a ready-to-go energy storage solution, and that convenience has led some major projects to buy into the Megapack, including a solar farm being built by Apple.
Electrek found that Tesla recently began offering sales of the Megapack directly through its website. A new page allows interested buyers to lay down a $5,000 deposit to place an order, with deliveries expected to arrive in 2022. But if you want one, it won’t be cheap. A single Megapack will run you $1,235,890, with prices decreasing the more units you purchase.
Grid independence — The idea with the Megapack is that, as utilities and private corporations pledge to reduce their carbon footprints by reducing their use of fossil fuels, and more consumers buy electric cars, demand for electricity will soar. But solar energy is inconsistent, and so you need to store it somewhere so that the lights don’t go out when the sun does.
In California, the utility PG&E has been deploying Megapacks to store renewable energy; companies like Apple can accelerate their commitments to zero-emissions, however, by purchasing storage themselves. Having their own storage can also reduce pressure on electrical grids at peak times.
Energy business — Tesla today reported record earnings of $1.1 billion for the second quarter of 2021 on $10 billion in revenue. That earnings number notably excludes the sale of regulatory credits to other automakers, which for some time helped it post a profit. Revenue from the energy business, including the Megapack, was $801 million, though Tesla earlier this year said sales have been driven mostly by its smaller Powerwall designed for home use.
It’s unclear what the profits on battery sales look like, but Musk has said he wants them to reach comparable profits to its cars, which this quarter had margins of 28.4 percent. Tesla is “already at good margins with the Powerwall, but some additional work is needed for the Megapack to achieve good margins,” Musk said in a recent earnings call. The price of the batteries that Tesla sells can come down as it produces more of them, something it’s struggled with due to industry-wide shortages in chipsets.
Tesla is betting that becoming an all-in-one energy business will justify its large market value of $630 billion, which far exceeds automakers that sell more cars than it does.