Two leaders in renewable technologies are collaborating on a home battery solution that will enable individual solar power producers to store surplus energy at point of generation for later reuse. Electric car maker Tesla Motors and SolarEdge Technologies, manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) inverters, have teamed up to create an inverter solution that will allow for grid and photovoltaic integration with Tesla’s newly launched home battery solution, the Powerwall. Storage has been the Gordian knot of PV; their product would enable more cost-effective residential solar generation, storage, and consumption.
An inverter converts the variable direct current (DC) output of a PV solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current (AC) that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a locally, off-grid. It is a critical part of a PV system (and often the costliest) that allows the use of ordinary AC-powered equipment. The joint development by SolarEdge and Tesla builds on SolarEdge’s DC optimized inverter solution and Tesla’s automotive-grade energy storage technology.
“Tesla’s collaboration with SolarEdge unites leading organizations in two rapidly-growing industries—solar energy and energy storage—to bring homeowners a more cost-effective and integrated energy generation, storage, and consumption solution,” said J.B. Straubel, Chief Technology Office of Tesla. “SolarEdge’s commitment to improving the value of PV systems through product innovation, combined with more than 1.3 GW of successful deployments, makes it an ideal partner for Tesla to develop and introduce this new energy storage solution to the PV market.”
The average home uses more electricity in the morning and evening than during the day when solar energy is plentiful. Without a home battery, excess solar energy is often sold to the power company and purchased back in the evening. This mismatch adds demand on power plants and increases carbon emissions. Tesla’s Powerwall aims to bridge the gap between renewable energy supply and demand by making a home’s solar energy available when it is needed.
The battery charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are lowest, then powers your home in the evening. It also protects against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply.
“Like SolarEdge, Tesla recognizes the need and opportunity to develop innovative solutions designed to lower the cost of solar energy and make clean, renewable energy more feasible for customers around the world,” stated Lior Handelsman, Marketing and Product Vice President of SolarEdge. “Tesla’s industry leading battery storage technology makes it a natural fit for this. Together, we are taking the first step towards widespread adoption of integrated solar energy generation and storage in the residential market.”
Designed to manage both functions with just one SolarEdge DC optimized inverter, the solution will allow for outdoor installation and will include remote monitoring and troubleshooting to keep operations and maintenance costs low. The solution will also support upgrading existing SolarEdge systems with the storage solution.
For enhanced safety, the solution is designed to use SolarEdge’s SafeDC™ architecture, which enables safe voltage levels in the event of inverter or grid disconnection to safeguard workers, homeowners, and firefighters. Additionally, the system will be in full compliance with the National Electrical Code 2014. It is expected to be available by the end of 2015.
Image of PV panels from Shutterstock