It looks like Tesla is about to change the battery game – this time by installing more energy storage capacity in 2016 with SolarCity alone than all of the USA installed in 2015. In a recent filing with the SEC, it was found that Tesla foresees an almost 10X increase in sales to SolarCity for behind the meter storage.
We recognized approximately $4.9 million in revenue from SolarCity during fiscal year 2015 for sales of energy storage products governed by this master supply agreement, and anticipate recognizing approximately $44.0 million in such revenues during fiscal year 2016.
According to an analysis by GTM’s Ravi Manghan this revenue projection means Tesla expects to install approximately 116 MWh of behind the meter storage. In all of 2015, the United States installed about 76 MWh of behind the meter. Starting from a very low base, SolarCity and Tesla Energy doubled their battery installation volume last year. These were small installations at test locations for special customers, but that wall of ‘start up’ is already starting to fall.
Of course, this number – 116 MWh – does not include the largest storage project on SolarCity’s horizon – Kauai Island’s coming 52 MWh system. The State of Hawaii, in aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2045, has contracted with SolarCity to balance the two 12MW Solar Power plants with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).
This is just the beginning. With Tesla CTO JB Straubel saying things like “I really love batteries. I might love batteries more than cars” – we should expect so much more in the future. A presentation by Straubel at the EIA Conference in July of 2015 outlined a vision for adding significant volumes of battery storage to the grid via EVs like the Tesla vehicles.
By 2020 – there will be 70 GWh of Tesla battery storage on the road, and – as you can see in the slide below – Straubel expects there to be 10 GWh of controllable load in those cars. This means, instead of spinning up gas turbine power plants to balance out grid imbalances, the power companies will be able to tap into your car.
With Germany’s Million Electric Car march underway, the price of batteries falling much like solar power already has and scientists globally working hard to figure out how to integrate those vehicles – we already have CEOs of major power companies stating that batteries are about to change the grid.
Battery storage, much like residential solar power, will offer private individuals the ability to control their energy future. I expect Tesla & SolarCity to release a highly integrated Solar Power + Powerwall + Tesla vehicle system for a residential home. It makes too much sense – and there is too much demand.