Tesla (TSLA) Introduces Low-cost Home Batteries to Store Solar Power

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) on Thursday announced its entry into the energy market, unveiling Tesla Energy – a system of low-cost solar batteries for homes, businesses and utilities that will expand its business beyond electric vehicles and help the company become a leader in the growing home energy-storage market.

Wall-mounted, with a sleek design, the lithium-ion batteries called “Powerwall,” come at a lower price than Tesla’s competitors and will work as a complete battery back-up for homes. They carry a suggested price of $3,000 for a 7 kilowatt-per hour version and $3,500 for the 7kWh version. The power modules were launched on Thursday at a Tesla facility in California by the company’s CEO and founder, Elon Musk, who said the company’s goal is to “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy on an extreme scale.”

Musk also unveiled a larger “Powerpack” for industrial applications, sold in 100 kilowatt-hour modules at $25,000 each. He said that Tesla would work with industrial customers on these installations.

Although Tesla will make these power modules, they will be sold by a variety of other companies. The list of partners include Amazon.com (AMZN), Target Corp. (TGT), and SolarCity (SCTY), a solar-power company that names Musk as its chairman and the biggest shareholder.

Tesla is currently taking orders for the systems, with the first units expected to ship in August.

According to an IHS Inc. CERA report, the energy storage business could explode from $200 million in 2012 to a $19 billion industry by 2017.

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