For many, the term Tesla immediately sparks visions of sporty, 100 percent electric personal transportation. Yet, with one simple announcement in early May, Tesla is venturing down a path less traveled — the way we power our home lives.

Tesla’s May announcement introduced Powerwall — a sleek, futuristic-looking battery that attaches to your home and charges using solar energy. Able to accommodate virtually any plug-in device —  appliances, electronics, those weird robot vacuums — this large-scale rechargeable battery (Powerwall) would power them all.

Tesla Powerwall: Facts about the Battery System
Image courtesy of Strom-Report.

The goal is to move away from fossil-fuel-generated power and walk boldly toward a more sustainable solution — zero-emission power generation. By creating the Powerwall, Tesla has essentially offered residential homes the capacity to become their own power plants, passively harnessing and storing the energy of the sun.

It may sound like a whole lot of futuristic jibber-jabber, but the Powerwall has several significant real-world results.

  • First of all, its streamlined design replaces the current battery-backup options by a mile. At 51.2 x 33.9 x 7.1 inches and 220 pounds, the Powerwall can be easily mounted to a garage or basement wall. But, don’t be deceived by its small footprint; the storage capacity of the battery means that it is possible to collect energy during the day until electricity rates spike during peak hours (at which point the battery can be programmed to kick in, saving the homeowner a mint in residential energy costs).
  • Alternately, the Powerwall can kick in during a power outage, providing each home with a backup generator of sorts and a way of preparing for emergencies and natural disasters without worrying about power blackouts.

Are you drooling yet? Are you itching to convert your home into one of these fantastic, self-sustaining, energy-generating organisms? Well, get in line. Response to the Powerwall has been incredible, selling out until mid-2016 after just one week (and generating $800 million in the process). Boom!

This response isn’t just good news for the bank account of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. In this era of capitalism and commerce, money talks — loudly. And the more that initiatives like this one are seen to be not only popular but profitable, well, where the money goes the interest follows, and we can begin to edge our way away from fossil fuels and toward proven alternatives.

In the U.S., significant tax cuts and rebates for those who adopt the Powerwall system are now available. For example, in drought-ravaged California, the rebate is a whopping 60 percent, making the Powerwall system an absolute no-brainer to adopt.

And there it is, the way that this whole green thing works best — when the solution is simple, accessible, elegant and, above all, makes sense. 

Feature image courtesy of Johan Larsson

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.