Curmudgeon Corner – Batteries, Refrigerator Size?

My Thoughts for May 10, 2015

Coming to your home soon—batteries as big as your refrigerator.  What’s up with this?  I can hardly lift my car battery and I have a terrible time remembering where I stored my triple A, double A, or my C batteries.  Now Tesla has made a battery the size of my refrigerator?  I should be able to find it when I need to, but I hope I don’t have to move it. 

Why do I need one of these?  Why do you need one of these?  Why does the world need these?  To utilize solar power, that’s why. 

If these batteries are successful, we as a nation will help to substantially reduce greenhouse gases.  We might actually save the world. Additionally, it will reduce the likelihood of a terrorist attack on our national grid system. These batteries, according to Tesla’s Elon Musk, will revolutionize the power industry by being able to store solar power for our homes, businesses, and entire communities. 

The home unit is called the Powerwall and can be mounted almost anywhere in your home, probably in your garage.  (Thank God, I won’t have to worry about moving it or finding it.) A unit called the Powerpack is designed for industry and can be stacked up to nine units for a total of 90 kilowatt hours (kwh), yet, this new technology is infinitely scalable to accommodate those with larger electrical needs.  

The cost of a home unit is $3,500 wholesale. In addition, there is a cost of installation plus a profit margin for the retail seller, all of which will run the cost up.  I can’t tell you what the cost of the industrial unit might be, but keep in mind both require solar input.

Thirteen Walmart stores have already installed the Tesla Powerpacks to help them manage peak energy demands, which is Wally-World speak for “saving money.”  Now, if we can just get them to give their employees a livable wage.  And, some day we may drive up to a Walmart  laden with a solar array filling their entire seven acre roof, only to find out they closed the store because the battery packs didn’t hold the charge. (Of course, the real reason might be the employees demand for a livable wage.)

There is an “expert” at Global Equities Research who predicts these batteries will sell for up to $15,000, but will also be offered 20-year leases with $1,500 down and $20 per month.  If the leasing company can buy a battery for $3500, over twenty years it would make 46% or about 2.3% per year.  I don’t think so.  Look for the cost to be triple those figures, and that just for the battery alone.  What about the solar panels needed to feed the battery? 

One could actually factor in an electric car which would off-set the entire cost of solar panels and a battery.  Just think—you’d never need to buy gas. That could be a savings of at least a couple hundred bucks a month.  Wow, that alone could make solar power affordable.  So, shifting away from the power grid to solar energy could eliminate large contributing factors to our greenhouse gases dilemma.  We would reduce the need for coal-burning plants and auto exhausts fumes that spew huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  It’s a no-brainer!

Oh, wait a sec.  What do we do with the coal miners we throw out of work and the people who bring us our power now. Where do they go for a livable wage?  Walmart!!

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