As Tesla is set to unveil its second generation home battery pack, the Powerwall, on Friday, LG Chem announced today that it is bringing its own home battery pack to the US market. The South Korean company is partnering with SunRun, a solar installer that was already distributing the Tesla Powerwall.
The deal announced this morning is not exclusive for either company. LG Chem can still sell its ‘Energy Storage System(ESS) for household use’ to other distributors and SunRun can offer other home battery packs to its solar customers.
The residential version of LG’s energy storage solutions is called ‘RESU’ – picture above. It holds about 6.5 kWh of energy, just like the Tesla Powerwall, and while the price to the end customer varies based on location and distributors, it has been reported to be similar to Tesla’s Powerwall – about $3,500-$4,000 wholesale.
By adding a new home battery pack option, SunRun could be looking to protect itself in case of supply problems as Tesla is about to buy its biggest competitor, SolarCity.
While Tesla has been working with a lot of different distributors for the first generation of the Powerwall and it didn’t give any indication that it would change for the second generation, it wouldn’t be surprising if Tesla prioritizes Powerwall orders to go with its own solar installations after it acquires SolarCity.
Sunrun Executive Chairman Ed Fenster said in an interview with Reuters:
“Tesla makes all the headlines, but LG manufactures most of the lithium-ion batteries. LG’s entry into the market will help bring down battery prices and help them make economic sense for more households.”
The statement is true when talking about battery cells. Panasonic is making the cells for the Tesla Powerwall and Tesla builds the battery module and pack that make the Powerwall. LG is a bigger manufacturer of li-ion battery cells, but that might be about to change with the Tesla Gigafactory.
The next generation to be unveiled on Friday is expected to be equipped with the new battery cells developed by Tesla and Panasonic for production at the Gigafactory in Nevada.
Once the company reveals the specs, it will be interesting to see how the Powerwall 2.0 compares to LG Chem’s products newly available in the US market.