Tesla Megapack Doubling Energy Capacity by Area for Utilities

Tesla’s larger Megapack is doubling utility-scale energy storage with 60% more capacity while using 40% less space than current systems.

At the site level, Megapack requires 40% less space and 10x fewer parts than current systems on the market. As a result, this high-density, modular system can be installed 10x faster than current systems.

Less than two years ago, Tesla built and installed the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in Hornsdale, South Australia, using Tesla Powerpack batteries. Since then, the facility saved nearly $40 million in its first year alone and helped to stabilize and balance the region’s unreliable grid.

Battery storage is transforming the global electric grid and is an increasingly important element of the world’s transition to sustainable energy. To match global demand for massive battery storage projects like Hornsdale, Tesla designed and engineered a new battery product specifically for utility-scale projects: Megapack.

Megapack significantly reduces the complexity of large-scale battery storage and provides an easy installation and connection process. Each Megapack comes from the factory fully-assembled with up to 3 megawatt hours (MWhs) of storage and 1.5 MW of inverter capacity, building on Powerpack’s engineering with an AC interface and 60% increase in energy density to achieve significant cost and time savings compared to other battery systems and traditional fossil fuel power plants. Using Megapack, Tesla can deploy an emissions-free 250 MW, 1 GWh power plant in less than three months on a three-acre footprint – four times faster than a traditional fossil fuel power plant of that size. Megapack can also be DC-connected directly to solar, creating seamless renewable energy plants.

utility-size installations like the upcoming Moss Landing project in California with PG&E, Megapack will act as a sustainable alternative to natural gas “peaker” power plants. Peaker power plants fire up whenever the local utility grid can’t provide enough power to meet peak demand. They cost millions of dollars per day to operate and are some of the least efficient and dirtiest plants on the grid. Instead, a Megapack installation can use stored excess solar or wind energy to support the grid’s peak loads.

Tesla developed its own software in-house to monitor, control and monetize Megapack installations. All Megapacks connect to Powerhub, an advanced monitoring and control platform for large-scale utility projects and microgrids, and can also integrate with Autobidder, Tesla’s machine-learning platform for automated energy trading. Tesla customers have already used Autobidder to dispatch more than 100 GWh of energy in global electricity markets. And, just as Tesla vehicles benefit from continued software updates over time, Megapack continues to improve through a combination of over-the-air and server-based software updates.

As the world’s transition to sustainable energy continues to accelerate, the market for advanced battery storage solutions is growing rapidly. In the past year alone, Tesla has installed more than 1 GWh of global storage capacity with their current storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack. This brought the total installed Tesla storage to more than 2 GWh of cumulative storage. With Megapack, this number will continue to accelerate exponentially in the coming years.

Megapack Applications

* Renewable Smoothing
– Smooth out the intermittency of renewables by storing and dispatching when needed
T&D Investment Deferral
– Postpone costly grid infrastructure upgrades by supplying power at a distributed location to defer the need to upgrade aging infrastructure

* Voltage Support
– Inject and absorb reactive power to maintain local voltage levels on the grid
Capacity Support
– Discharge at times of peak capacity to reduce demands on distribution and transmission infrastructure

* Microgrid
– Build a localized grid that can disconnect from the main power grid

* Market Participation
– Provide service to the grid in response to signals sent by system operators

* Frequency Regulation
– Maintain grid stability by rapidly changing charge or discharge power in response to changes in grid frequency
– Megapack is designed for utilities and large-scale commercial customers. Our team of experts will work with you to identify custom site needs, and design a solution to maximize project values across multiple applications.

22 thoughts on “Tesla Megapack Doubling Energy Capacity by Area for Utilities”

  1. Not with just a single vat. For example, the conventional lead-acid car battery has sulfuric acid solution, but the storage and discharge is from converting lead plates to lead oxide and back. The solution just allows the reaction to happen between the electrodes.

    A flow battery has two different electrolyte solutions, separated by a membrane. A current across the membrane changes one or both of the chemicals in solution. Current direction determines if you are charging or discharging.

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  2. Another use for something like this is backup power for data centers and other large electric users. Batteries are effectively instantaneous, while diesel or turbine backup generators take time to start up.

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  3. As the old saying goes “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it”.

    More seriously, the customers for this are utilities and large power users. Each installation will involve a different number of units, variable shipping and installation costs and “add-ons” (Tesla power management software, substation design, etc.). So there isn’t a single price.

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  4. Pretty good – two old strip mine pits, one 500 meters higher than the other. Water does have to be brought/pumped in though. Nearish to the Salton Sea.

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  5. The cost of hydro schemes depends enormously on the exact geography of the area in question.

    Do we know if the “California’s Eagle Mountain” is a particularly good hydro scheme?

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  6. We can point to the individual problems the Croweaters had, but that’s just an example. My point is that such problems, whichever problem applies to the particular utility at that point in time, such problems are ignored, minimized, and not dealt with until the electrons stop flowing out of the wall socket.

    Then everyone is upset and angry and a fast solution can be approved even if it is more expensive that a solution that takes 4 times as long.

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  7. “Their South Australia battery installation cost ~$66 million and it reportedly made up to $17 million during the first ~6 months of operation”

    “The facility saved nearly $40 million in its first year alone”

    Sounds like a better deal than their solar roof.

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  8. California’s Eagle Mountain pumped hydro project now pencils out as more expensive than flow batteries.
    California prices don’t necessarily compare to the rest of the world, but flow batteries are expected to halve in price in 5 years or so.
    So pumped hydro is basically dead.

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  9. I’m always suspicious when told relative numbers instead of absolute ones. Umpty-ump times cheaper/smaller/more-scrumptious than EXACTLY WHAT ??

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  10. Wasn’t South Australia’s problem because there was no law requiring notification when shutting down a power plant until August 2018?

    “…Australian Energy Market Commission made a draft rule in August this year, which would require scheduled and semi-scheduled generators to give the Australian Energy Market Operator at least three years notice of their intention to close…”

    https://www.energycouncil.com.au/analysis/power-plant-shutdowns-how-do-you-prepare-for-the-transition/

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  11. Even at the more compact capacity, I don’t like all the real estate it takes up. Especially in areas that could otherwise be green.

    Why doesn’t the Boring Company drill some tunnels to put these things in?

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  12. Should sell a lot of units for grid stability. Small units could be used to maintain voltage at near the end of long feeders during heat waves. Peak power is very expensive but capacity of the battery units maybe a problem. What they can do is spin up some of the Gas Turbines to cover the difference.

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  13. Yes. I wonder how it compares (in cost over time) to various other, less fully developed battery technologies, now and a few years down the road.

    My impression is that lithium ion is currently only relatively viable because it has come so far down its manufacturing cost curve, while others are still struggling to get going. I.e. if one or more other technologies can push forward far enough, they would surpass and displace Li-Ion.

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  14. If the South Australian example is anything to go by, the utilities may ignore the need for more capacity long past the point where it becomes necessary. They insist that their cool new high tech (probably green) scheme is going to start working any day now until finally it all falls over and the voters/customers start screaming.
    Now they need something installed yesterday, and will be willing to pay twice as much just to get something much faster than normal.

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  15. Interesting, if not telling, that Tesla has not uttered a single word about price of this system. The general rule is hide bad news, promote good news.

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  16. What does this mean?

    “savings compared to other battery systems and traditional fossil fuel power plants. Using Megapack, Tesla can deploy an emissions-free 250 MW, 1 GWh power plant in less than three months on a three-acre footprint – four times faster than a traditional fossil fuel power plant of that size”

    It looks like they are saying that their back-up is fast to install..? But really, 1 year for installing back-up in a “traditional” way cannot really be an issue….

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