The 7 Biggest Questions Ahead of Tesla’s Battery Announcement
Tesla Motors Inc. will introduce its line of energy-storage products Thursday night at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California. Select Tesla car owners, utility executives and representatives of the solar industry are among those with invitations. The company will announce both a home battery and a “very large utility scale battery,” it said in a note to investors last week. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been dropping hints for weeks, drumming up intrigue about “The Missing Piece.” Here’s what to look for in the two-part announcement:
1. Who Markets Home Battery?
Tesla has already installed roughly 300 batteries in California homes through a pilot project with SolarCity Corp., where Musk is chairman. Will SolarCity continue to be the channel to the residential market for Tesla’s home battery? Or will Tesla offer its batteries to other solar companies hoping to pair solar and storage?
2. Big Enough for Utilities?
In the utility market, a 1-megawatt system is widely viewed as the entry point for most storage applications. So what does Tesla mean when it says “very large?” “In the battery industry, 5 megawatts or 10 megawatts is huge,” says Haresh Kamath, the energy storage program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California. “But for a utility, that’s small. If Tesla comes out with a 20-megawatt system, that would be enough to get the utility industry excited.”
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