Business & Tech The Economist

Tesla activates world’s largest lithium-ion battery bank

December 12, 2017

On December 1st a 100-MW electric battery system built by Tesla Inc was officially activated in the state of South Australia. The project is the largest lithium-ion battery storage in the world, and is one of the biggest forays by the US-based autos-to-solar company outside its traditional electric vehicle business.

Tesla expects the battery bank to meet the electricity needs of over 30,000 households in South Australia, which has suffered from heavy blackouts since September 2016. The project was contracted as part of a US$550m energy plan by the state government. The battery bank will be recharged at the 325-MW Hornsdale wind farm, which is run by Neoen, a French energy firm.

The US-based automaker had vowed to deliver the project within 100 days of signing an agreement in September. The company, which is known for missing deadlines, has provided the system just 63 days after the deal was signed. Production delays and various teething problems have previously delayed the launch of Tesla’s Model X, a luxury crossover sports utility vehicle.

In November 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity Corp, a US-based solar energy company. In January, production started at the company’s “Gigafactory”, which produces batteries and electricity storage units. Tesla’s timely completion of the battery bank will help it expand its presence in the renewable energy sector, while offering South Australia greater energy security.

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