I watched the live stream of the announcement last week, and was blown away. Tesla is not a natural born salesman; instead, he is smart, he believes in what he’s doing, and so far, everything he’s promised bears out, there’s little smoke and mirrors in evidence. It doesn’t mean that he will always succeed at what he’s doing, but that’s ok - if you don’t reach for big goals, you can’t do great things.
Ramez Naam thinks that this system is viable today in some countries (see graph above):
The article has tons of links to other things you’ll want to read.
One thing to keep in mind - even though most states in the US have buy-back of self-generated power (the Net Metering laws), expect that to go away very soon. It did its job, it got people jump-started using solar, and it’s going to kill the energy companies if it keeps up; not because we’re taking their profit away, but because of the intermittent nature. Wait, hmm - even if consumers don’t buy the Tesla Powerwall, utilities certainly could…
And, the cost of batteries and solar will continue to drop. It’s hard to predict how rapidly they will drop - some of the massive drop in the price of solar energy was inadvertently funded by the Chinese government, as they gave massive funding to companies like Suntech. But those prices stuck, indicating that there was massive innovation happening around the world.
Some experts think that the Powerwall is being sold at a loss, at least for now. Since battery technology is fairly mature and no startling breakthroughs have happened recently, this is probably true unless there are controllable labor costs mixed into those estimates. But no one expects prices to go up, and it’s pretty reasonable that prices will continue to drop.
Powewall - Tesla’s site.
Why Tesla’s battery for your home should terrify utilities - from The Verge.
Will Tesla’s Newest Battery Pan Out? - the Wall Street Journal.
Why Tesla’s Powerwall Is Just Another Toy For Rich Green People - Forbes. This is an article that should have been retracted in its entirety, because as it got corrected, its points dwindled away.