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Western Cape shows promise for Tesla storage solution

tesla powerwall
The 7kW Powerwall system is small enough to be mounted on a household wall and can be used for both residential consumption and for recharging hybrid motor vehicles

In South Africa, the brainchild of the Tesla Powerwall, Elon Musk, is exploring the idea of developing a “gigafactory” in Cape Town, which will manufacture the much talked about Tesla Powerwall batteries.

According to the South African-native Musk, the Powerwall is a “great solution for people in remote parts of the world where there’s no electricity” or where the supply is intermittent or costly, the Times Live reported.

Tesla touch-down in S.Africa

In early 2015, the US-based automotive company Tesla launched a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that has the ability to store solar-generated power for load shifting, temporary backup power and self-consumption.

The 7kW Powerwall system is small enough to be mounted on a household wall and can be used for both residential consumption and for recharging hybrid motor vehicles as well, the company said.

In September 2015, South African renewable energy company Dako Power, announced that they would import the newly launched Tesla UPS system into the country in February this year.

Predictions show truth

President of the Southern African Association for Energy Efficiency (SAEE), Karel Steyn predicted in December that battery storage solutions would grow exponentially in 2016 adding that:The commercial introduction of Tesla’s battery storage systems in SA during 2016 will positively impact the economics of residential energy storage.”

This prediction follows news that former GreenCape CEO, Evan Rice, has been appointed as Tesla South Africa’s business development manager.

The Times Live reported that Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde said: “Evan [Rice] phoned me to say [he] was leaving GreenCape. When he told me where he was going I said it was definitely good news.

“We very much want to have a gigafactory here. If we get that right, it will make nuclear power generation obsolete.”

The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and GreenCape have been working together since Musk showed interest in deploying the storage technology to South Africa.

Winde commented: “I said we needed to get involved, and that is when people at GreenCape started phoning Tesla in the US. They had some teleconferences and then a delegation went to see them.”

US gigafactory success

Tesla has already developed a $5 billion gigafactory in Nevada, US, which has since produced its first batch of Powerwall systems that are expected to arrive on the shores of South Africa towards the end of January 2016, Mybroadband reported.

Known as Gigafactory 1, this facility is rumoured to be “the world’s second-largest production plant, behind Boeing’s aeroplane assembly building in the US”, Mybroadband reported.

According to the media, the storage systems are expected to retail around $4,000 (ZAR67,560).


Homepage pic credit: digitaltrends

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.