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Tesla Motors unveils plans for home energy storage solution

Despite a disappointing 2014 Q4 earnings report, Tesla Motors is marching forward and looking to expand its business into the emerging energy storage market. During an earnings conference call with investors last Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the company’s plan to roll out a new lithium-ion battery pack for homeowners and businesses.

Details regarding the battery pack were kept largely under wraps, but Musk confirmed that the design phase is now complete. Musk said the “Tesla home battery” would look similar to the Model S pack (the battery found in the Tesla Model S electric car) and could be mounted onto a wall. The new battery pack is expected to be formally introduced in one or two months and enter production in six months. It will add to Tesla’s existing line of residential energy storage units, which are currently offered to select customers through SolarCity. Musk is chairman of SolarCity and its largest shareholder.

Tesla’s battery and charging technology is expected to gain significant traction among homeowners looking for an off-grid approach (i.e., those who have solar panels). Generating electricity has been made easier by the spread of solar technology, but energy storage has historically proved challenging for consumers and utility companies. For many homeowners, battery technology would lessen their dependence on local utility providers and offer a better alternative to expensive generators.

Tesla has also shown interest on the commercial side of the energy storage market. Chief technology officer J.B. Straubel added that Tesla is in contact with numerous utility clients, including PG&E Corp. in California, which is looking to add 1.3 GW of storage capacity by 2020. Tesla recently selected Nevada to build its $5 billion “gigafactory,” where the company plans to build some 500,000 lithium-ion battery packs per year when the facility is completed by 2020.

Top image via Tesla Motors.

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