Elon Musk and Tesla continue to push for renewable energy as they plan a “gigafactory” in Cape Town, South Africa, to produce Powerwall batteries, sufficient to power an entire home using solar energy.
According to CleanTechnica, Khobi Brooklyn, Tesla’s global communications director, recently said Tesla Powerwalls are already being made and shipped, and the company will be concentrating on producing even more.
The Tesla Powerwall for residential use comes in two models, 7 kWh and 10 kWh, and both are set to answer one of the main questions relating to solar energy — that of storage. The company also produces a larger, utility-scale storage product geared for businesses wishing to store backup amounts of solar or wind electricity.
Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, hails from South Africa, and a recent announcement has been made that Musk is planning to build what he dubs a “gigafactory” in Cape Town to produce the Powerwall batteries.
As reported by Times Live, Tesla has already been in talks with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Renewable Energy over building the large factory in the province.
Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities, Alan Winde, says the factory is now a step closer to becoming reality after Tesla recently poached Evan Rice, chief executive of GreenCape, and appointed him business development manager for South Africa.
Winde told Times Live, “Evan phoned me to say [he] was leaving GreenCape. When he told me where he was going I said it was definitely good news,” adding that the plan aims to make nuclear power in that country obsolete.
“We very much want to have a gigafactory here. If we get that right, it will make nuclear power generation obsolete.”
Tesla is also planning to build a $5 billion factory in Nevada, U.S.A., to produce the Powerwall batteries. According to Musk, the batteries are powered by solar energy and will be able to store sufficient energy to power a home. Musk added that further factories will need to be built all around the world.
Vermont utility says it will be the first to install Tesla powerwall batteries in the US https://t.co/MF0rqBYoGd
— sfbay_sharon (@sfbay_sharon) December 9, 2015
According to Musk, Powerwall batteries are a “great solution for people in remote parts of the world where there’s no electricity,” and in areas where the electricity supply is intermittent or expensive. It could also, obviously, be a great alternative to the normal supply of electricity, generated by nuclear energy or coal.
Musk added that 900 million Powerwalls would serve to make all the world’s electricity primarily solar. For South Africa, Tesla’s new Powerwall “gigafactory” will also produce plenty of much-needed jobs.
— Big Gamer29 (@fallova) December 30, 2015
Meanwhile, while the Powerwall battery sounds like the ideal solution to power problems worldwide, Engadget reports that the Institute for Energy Research has had a look at the numbers and reckons it could take almost 40 years for the Powerwall battery to pay for itself.
Reportedly, if a home is already hooked up for solar-power connections, it would take around 31 years to break even, while if the home is new to solar energy, it could take up to 38 years for the Powerwall to pay for itself.
However, according to Tesla, areas with renewable-energy policies like feed-in tariffs — including Hawaii, Australia, and the U.K. — provide a more accurate basis for the Powerwall’s usage. According to them, in these regions, “the consumer can utilize a Powerwall to consume more of their solar generation and the payback is less than 10 years, while providing the non-economic benefits, as well.”
— Koldo Gutiérrez (@kgboada) January 7, 2016
Born in South Africa and schooled at Pretoria Boys’ High, Elon Musk is not only the CEO of Tesla, but is also the co-founder of the popular online payment system, PayPal, and the founder of the aerospace engineering company, SpaceX.
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