Solar and wind are great forms of ever-renewable energy, but they do have significant drawbacks. One is that, being dependent on the weather, they are highly intermittent.
And because of the current generation of limited storage capacities just as sunshine and winds come and go, so does the energy generated by solar and wind. That is why improvements in cheap and large-scale energy storage capacities will be key if solar and wind power are to come truly into their own.
Companies worldwide are working on better batteries. One new model is being introduced by Tesla, which has just unveiled its largest battery product yet, called Megapack.
Each of the factory-assembled Megapack batteries can store up to 3 megawatt hours (MWHs) of energy. Thanks to a built-in converter, a Megapack battery can also convert up to 1.5 megawatts of energy from a direct current to an alternating current, which can make it suitable for use by homes and offices.
“Megapack significantly reduces the complexity of large-scale battery storage and provides an easy installation and connection process,” Tesla says.
Megapack builds on the California-based company’s Powerpack batteries, which can be upscaled to industrial-size projects. In 2017 Tesla deployed Powerpacks to create the world’s largest lithium-ion battery site in Australia in order to support local energy grids with storage from solar energy. The new model boasts 60% more energy density than its predecessor, which increases its storage capacity.
“Using Megapack, Tesla can deploy an emissions-free 250 MW, 1 GWh power plant in less than three months on a three-acre footprint – four times faster than a traditional fossil fuel power plant of that size,” says the company, which is best known for its high-end electric vehicles. “Megapack can also be DC-connected directly to solar, creating seamless renewable energy plants,” it adds.
The first batch of Megapack batteries is being installed in California for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company and will be pressed into service when demand for energy from local grids outpaces current supply. “As the world’s transition to sustainable energy continues to accelerate, the market for advanced battery storage solutions is growing rapidly,” Tesla says.
“In the past year alone, we have installed more than 1 GWh of global storage capacity with our current storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack, bringing our total global footprint to more than 2 GWh of cumulative storage. With Megapack, this number will continue to accelerate exponentially in the coming years,” it promises.
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