Tesla introduces Powerwall battery for homes and businesses

Tesla believes the Powerwall can help wean the world off of fossil fuels.

Stepping outside of the auto industry for the first time, Tesla Motors has introduced a new line of batteries intended for home and commercial use. Called Powerwall, the batteries are designed to help homes and business reduce their power bill and, ultimately, lower their dependence on fossil fuels.

The Powerwall battery is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion unit that is similar in design to the Model S' battery pack. It measures 51.2 inches tall, 33.9 inches wide and just 7.1 inches deep, and it can be mounted on nearly any type of wall inside or outside.

When hooked up to the local power grid, Tesla's Powerwall lets owners and businesses benefit from load shifting, meaning that the pack can be charged during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper and turned on during peak hours when it is more expensive. Alternatively, it can be paired with an inverter and linked to one or more solar panels.

Additionally, the Powerwall can provide electricity in the event of a power outage. Tesla predicts this aspect will be particularly important to business owners because they will be able to back up critical operations when the power goes out.

Tesla will initially offer two versions of the Powerwall, a 7-kWh unit designed for daily use applications and a 10-kWh unit designed to be used as a backup during outages. The 7-kWh battery will retail for $3,000, while the 10-kWh pack will cost $3,500, though Tesla points out that the packs need to be installed by a professional and that the solar inverter is not included in the purchase price. However, both batteries come with a 10-year warranty.

Tesla will begin delivering the Powerwall before the end of the summer.

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