Tesla started shipping cheaper Powerpack 2.0 grid battery in September
- The second version of Tesla's grid-scale battery began shipping to customers in September, the electric vehicle and energy storage company said in a blog post Thursday.
- Tesla said two high-profile storage projects have already received the Powerpack 2.0 — Southern California Edison's 80 MWh Mira Loma project and the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative's 52 MWh solar-plus-storage project, which is being constructed with SolarCity.
- The company said the new battery has twice the energy density of its predecessor, but performance details such as cycle life and degradation rates were not made available. The company is expected to unveil a residential solar-plus-storage offering in a highly-anticipated event on Friday evening.
Tesla preempted its Friday night energy storage event by releasing new details on its grid-scale batteries.
The company said batteries for the SCE and KIUC projects are being constructed in its gigafactory — the massive manufacturing facility in Nevada that Tesla says is key to achieving economies of scale for batteries.
When Tesla signed its storage contract with SCE, it credited the factory with allowing it to meet the project's aggressive deployment schedule, which seeks to activate the batteries before year's end to help mitigate for natural gas shortages in Los Angeles caused by the Aliso Canyon methane leak.
The KIUC project is also using the batteries for what is expected to be the world's first dispatchable solar PV project, using 52 MWh of batteries to shift the generation from a 13 MW solar facility into the evening hours when demand is greatest.
Though price details were not released, Tesla said a new battery module and power electronics have helped the company cut battery costs, making the product a "cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions." The company also spotlighted a new proprietary inverter that it called the "lowest cost, highest efficiency and highest power density utility-scale inverter on the market."
"The Tesla inverter paired with the Powerpack 2 allows storage to be available to the utility industry at price points and with functionality previously unknown," Tesla said in the blog post.
Tesla says the battery has twice the energy density of the original Powerpack, which came in 100 kWh modules designed to be stacked to the customer's needed capacity. But a higher density could potentially be achieved through simple changes, such as altering the size of a custom battery enclosure. Other performance details, such as how quickly the battery would degrade under different uses, were not released.
Lifting the lid on the new Powerpack battery could mean Tesla wants to save the media attention at its Friday event for a new residential solar-plus-storage offering it is expected to announce with SolarCity. The two companies are currently trying to merge, with shareholders set to vote on the deal on Nov. 17.
Utility Dive will be at the event in Los Angeles, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Tesla says it will live stream the event on the company website. Stay tuned.
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