Right off the top I want to make sure that I fully disclose that I work for an electric company. The opinions in this article are solely my own and in no way represent the company I work for.
I'll never forget the day that Steve Jobs stood on the Apple stage and unveiled the iPhone. Never would anyone have imagined how much the introduction of the iPhone would have changed the world. Since his passing I have always wondered who would be the next big innovator. I think we have our answer, Elon Musk.
At a Tesla event this past week, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla Energy and their first product the Tesla PowerWall. Battery storage for the home. They also introduced one for businesses, but I think that's further off in terms of adoption. The concept is simple. Storing energy. The big problem with renewable energy is that as of right now its great during the day and not so great at night. There's no way to store the power at a reasonable cost (its possible not necessarily economical). So to see Elon Musk go on stage, talk about climate change and the state of power not only in the US but across the world was staggering.
However if you could combine solar with one of these PowerWall's and you could have a home that could easily be powered by renewable energy. How great is that? Especially if solar prices continue to come down while solar technology continues to improve. I would not be surprised if in my lifetime all new homes are built with their own self generation. I think Elon Musk said it best early on in his presentation that we need to harness the best source of energy we have, the sun.
Do I think that this will take off at the same trajectory of the iPhone? No. But I do think that this announcement could have an exponentially greater impact on our world then the iPhone. Whether homes go fully solar or if they just want to store energy at the cheapest rates, this could have a major impact on the entire utility industry. What's even more impressive and I think just as exciting is that Tesla is open sourcing the entire product. If this industry takes off that means competition will continue to bring prices down and make this even more affordable. As of right now the initial model retails for $3,000. I think prices will remain around that for starting but battery technology will improve allowing you to store more energy in less space.
Jenn and I aren't going to run out and purchase one today, but 1-3 years down the road its something I would absolutely consider, if for no other reason then to lower my electric bill and help the environment.
This is an exciting future and one that I think we will look back too as a pivotal shift in how homes/business are powered.