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Coming soon: The Tesla home battery

Electric car company venturing into residential energy storage

Tesla Motors (TSLA), the company that plans to revolutionize automobiles with its electric car, is planning a new revolution that aims to transfer how we power the rest of our lives.

The company plans to begin selling a battery that can be used to power a home and is expected to officially announce the home battery in the next few days, according to a report from The Los Angeles Times (via The Hamilton Spectator).

According to the report, Tesla has begun briefing environmental groups and analysts on its plans.

From the LA Times report:

Storing electricity efficiently, inexpensively and safely is a problem that has vexed the power industry since electricity was first harnessed. But such storage has huge implications for bolstering the national electricity grid and reducing pollution from power generation.

Homeowners and businesses, for example, could charge batteries at night, when there is surplus generation and rates are cheap, and then use the power during the day, when there is a heavy load on the grid and rates are highest.

"You can look at the battery as an asset on the grid and then you can start to figure out the financial opportunities," said Rajit Gadh, director of the Smart Grid Energy Research Center at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

What the report doesn’t reveal is how much the home battery will cost. Other reports suggest that the home battery will be leased or “rented,” in a similar fashion to how another alternative energy source is currently paid for.

Nautilus Solar CEO Jim Rice said in an interview with HousingWire that the demand for solar panels is increasing and soon homeowners may be able to own solar systems as opposed to the current lease structure.

A recent study on solar power in the residential market showed that there is demand from homebuyers for solar-powered homes, finding that buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for homes with photovoltaic energy systems. However, some homeowners complain leases on solar panels restrict future property sales.

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk announces the home battery at some point in the near future, mortgage lenders, perhaps even appraisers, may have a whole new alternative energy issue to concern themselves with.

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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