Utilities may never be the same in the wake of Tesla’s announcement in late April that it will be offering a 220-pound battery pack for home use to store solar power — but it will not be because of Tesla’s batteries.
That did not stop Tesla’s Elon Musk from claiming, as he unveiled the company’s sleek Powerwall, that he was announcing “a fundamental transformation of how the world works.”
The rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, designed to hang on a garage wall and store solar energy, was a testament to Musk’s gift for showmanship, but hardly a revolution that will entice the masses.
“It is symptomatic of a broader transition,” says Jesse Morris, a manager in the electricity practice at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit consulting firm that focuses on renewable energy. “What we are seeing in general is the upending of an electrical power system from a centrally planned regime to a customer-focused service.”
But Tesla is