Solar PV plus battery solutions: Prices poised to plummet

Solar PV plus battery solutions: Prices poised to plummet

I’m on record as saying that the Tesla Powerwall, the revolutionary wall-mounted lithium-ion battery-pack, will gain general marketplace acceptance faster than predicted.

The latest news from Tesla certainly supports this. At launch earlier this year, the Powerwall was cheaper than most industry watchers were prepared for, mainly because Elon Musk, the South African-born founder of Tesla, was determined to demonstrate the broad global acceptance of his brainchild.

Now, the prices for all variants of the Tesla Powerwall are falling faster than expected even before the first Powerwall has been shipped! For example, the average Tesla Powerwall battery price on launch was around US$ 547/kWh. Now it’s around $350/kWh and set to breach the $300/kWh price point soon. What will it be when worldwide distribution begins in 2016?

According to industry watchers, Tesla’s batteries are already seven years ahead of the market when it comes to pricing, giving tens of millions more customers the opportunity to cost-effectively install solar PV plus battery systems in their homes.

Consequently, when the customer-friendly, aesthetic, well-designed Tesla Powerwall makes its appearance in SA it will have a ready market waiting. Expect stocks to evaporate faster than water in a parched desert. Globally, reserve orders are mounting – around $800-million worth as we speak.

Why are prices falling so fast? It’s due to the battery’s application in the automotive market. In the US, electric vehicles are big business. Already more than 3 million electric-drive vehicles are on the roads. Tesla, BMW and now Mercedes-Benz are vying for the lion’s share of this burgeoning market.

Bringing down the cost of an electric drivetrain is therefore an important step in increasing the adoption of zero-emission vehicles. Vehicles sales are thus at the centre of this development.

Here, in electricity-starved SA, electric vehicles may not be a priority, but preparing for disruptive load-shedding and soaring electricity prices is. With Testla lighting the path ahead, cheap battery storage is set to boost the acceptance of rooftop solarPV plus battery solutions beyond all projections. It’s a technology whose time has finally arrived.