Tesla CEO and co-foudner Elon Musk says the company’s energy storage division deployed record amounts of batteries in the fourth quarter of 2019, and the full year – with the new “megapack” driving a surge of interest.
The Tesla energy storage division deployed 530MWh in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is nearly three times the size of the expanded big battery at Hornsdale, which remains the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world and is being expanded to provide added service, including inertia, to the grid.
Musk says the record fourth quarter took total deployment of battery storage in 2019 to 1.65 gigawatt hours, which is more than the company has deployed in all previous years.
The last quarter included the first deployments of Megapack, the company’s new commercial- scale 3 MWh integrated storage system that is preassembled at its Nevada gigafactory as a single unit.
Before this, utility scale batteries were built with its 200kWh Powerpack units. The household market is satisfied with 13.5kWh Powerwall 2 units.
“Since the introduction of this (Megapack) product, the level of interest and orders from various global project developers and utilities has surpassed our expectations,” the company said in its Q4 earnings statement. Tesla says the Megapack takes up 40 per cent less space, requires a tenth of the parts to build, and can be assembled 10 times as fast as alternative energy storage solutions.
Apart from the original Tesla big battery at what is officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, Tesla has also built big battery storage installations at Lake Bonney and Gannawarra, and smaller ones elsewhere. In California, it is building an even bigger battery, an 182.5 MW/730 MWh facility at Moss Landing for utility PG&E.
In 2020, the company says storage deployments should increase another 50 per cent, suggesting around 2.5 gigawatt hours of new battery installations this year. That will likely include the Hornsdale expansion and the Moss Landing facility, due for completion later this year.
Most of Tesla’s battery production if focused on its electric vehicles. The company proposes to hold a “battery day” – probably in April – to discuss the latest developments in the technology.