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LOS ANGELES - Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk on Thursday officially announced two battery backup products, one for homes and one for industrial use, at an event at the company's Southern California design studio.
The lithium-ion battery modules can store electricity from solar panels and serve to balance loads from the grid, charging up during non-peak energy usage hours, then providing energy to a home or facility during peak hours.
Homeowners will be able to get the module called the Powerwall, which Tesla will sell in 7- and 10 kilowatt-hour modules. Musk said that certified installers could buy the smaller pack for $3, 000 and the larger pack for $3, 500. (UK and Australian details were not announced.)
For industrial applications, Tesla will offer the Powerpack, sold in 100-kilowatt-hour modules at $25, 000 each. Musk said that Tesla would work with industrial customers on these installations. The battery backup systems come under a new product line at Tesla called Tesla Energy.
To this point, Tesla has been known as an automaker, producing electric-powered cars such as the Model S sedan, which also use lithium-ion batteries. In that role, it has proved to be a catalyst for change in the car business, as a number of major automakers over the last several years have unveiled their own electric vehicles. Tesla's entrance into the home-charging business could spark a similar trend in that realm.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Powerwall and Powerpack, new battery backup products at an event in Southern California. Allison Tom/CNET
The idea of battery backup systems for homes and industry is not new, with companies such as Egen, Alevo and Enphase Energy already in the space. Although the energy storage industry was valued at only $200 million in 2012, it is expected to grow to $19 billion by 2017, according to research firm IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
Musk said that Tesla's products come at a lower price than competitors, and gushed that the Powerwall is "beautiful and is really easy to fit in your garage or house." He went on to say that it is an integrated system, combining thermal management and an inverter, "that just works."
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