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The idea of a battery-powered home is one where a rechargeable battery stores energy from solar panels during the day or from off-peak hours when grid energy is the cheapest, and then uses that energy during the rest of the day. The problem is batteries are expensive. Elon Musk, the entrepreneur founder of SpaceX, PayPal, and Tesla Motors, is trying to change this with a product called the Tesla Powerwall, which is a bunch of lithium ion battery cells in a liquid-cooled case to prevent overheating.
For $3,000, there is a Powerwall that can store and discharge up to 7 kWh per day and projected to last around 10 years. Power consumption in the U.S. varies greatly depending on location and climate, but the average home in 2011 used 940 kWh per month. To get that much energy, you'd need around $11,000 worth of solar panels and 5 Powerwalls to store all that energy (which would put you back another $15,000). It's expensive, but as the cost of batteries and solar panels will continue to drop as more people adopt this technology. Independently powered homes could become a great way for us to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel. Inexpensive, battery-powered homes look like they could be a reality pretty soon.
Tesla Powerwall (Tesla)
"Powerwall is a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and powers your home in the evening. It also fortifies your home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply."
How Tesla's Batteries Will Power Your Home (Wired)
"Finding sources of energy isn't actually difficult. It comes from wind, from water, from the sun, from the geothermal forces in the heart of the planet itself."