Tesla’s ground-breaking batteries could be coming to a data center near you

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Tesla, best known for its electric car sales, is heading into the energy business with its Internet-connected Powerwall and Powerpack batteries. What’s most intriguing about this move is how the innovative batteries can influence data center technology.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the new batteries recently as he described the company’s new product line, Tesla Energy. Musk hopes these new power sources will revolutionize the way the public thinks about energy.

Tesla Energy will release two products, available later this year. The Powerwall battery is intended for use in the home, while the Powerpack is aimed at businesses of all sizes.

The Powerwall comes in two voltage capacities — 10 kWh and 7 kWh for $3,500 and $3,000, respectively. The battery is three feet by four feet and six inches thick, and manages any kind of heat, allowing it to be attached to the inside or outside of the home. The battery also connects to the Internet, allowing users to reduce redundant lighting and even take their entire home off the power grid. Gizmodo provides more detailed stats, saying the battery operates at >92 percent round trip efficiency and can work in temperatures ranging from -20C (-4F) to 43C (110F).

The Powerpack comes in 100 kWh blocks that can scale all the way up to 10 MWh, which ideally makes them suitable for businesses of all sizes, and even utility companies.

It has recently been revealed Amazon Web Services was testing these batteries for the past year at one of its data centers.

“Batteries are important for both data center reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power,” said James Hamilton, a distinguished engineer at AWS, according to ZDnet.  “They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data center’s constant power demands.”

AWS hopes to roll out a 4.8-megawatt hour pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries, starting with its US West (Northern California) Region

The idea behind the batteries, according to Musk, is reduce the world’s dependency on “the grid,” Solar power is a popular alternative energy source, but will obviously be of no use to someone when the sun isn’t available. The Tesla Energy products ideally will help fix that problem and stabilize infrastructure with fewer homes drawing on the grid.

Though the Powerwall and Powerpack have just been officially announced, Tesla has been testing the batteries for about a year, and has sold them to a few consumers. The Powerwall is expected to ship this summer, with the first few Powerpacks coming “later this year” and then becoming fully available in 2016.

As reported on Digital Journal, with files from David Silverberg

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Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a staff editor at Digital Journal Inc. He is a graduate from Ryerson University's School of Journalism in Toronto. He also founded Grayowl Point, a Canadian music blog that's been online since 2009.
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