Markets Dec 11, 2015 07:16 AM EST

Tesla says Australian utility Origin to market solar battery

By Staff Writer

Tesla Motors Inc. listed Australia's largest power and gas retailer, Origin Energy, as one of the distributors for its solar battery storage product, Powerwall, which the company is launching globally in two other countries. The Powerwall is initially targeted at early adopters, both by Tesla and by Origin. The product will be available for installation starting February 2016.

A survey commissioned by Origin revealed that nearly one third of Australians are aware of Tesla's home batteries and this was more than twice the recognition of other brands. The Tesla home battery can be paired with small-scale solar such as rooftop panels to store locally generated energy, or it can be used without solar as a battery to store power from the grid. This is a game changer that will help fully leverage solar to the benefit of all with cost savings, while empowering people to generate, store and use energy closer to home. A Powerwall and an inverter without installation will cost about $1000 to $1200.

Gizmodo reports that Origin already has 400,000 out of its 4.3 million customers around Australia using solar energy. The Powerwall is initially targeted at early adopters, both by Tesla and by Origin, with Origin's chief executive officer of energy markets, Frank Calabria, telling Gizmodo that "home batteries will not be for everyone at this early stage, but with more than 80 percent of solar PV owners in a recent survey indicating they would consider buying a home battery," the company was confident it would have strong interest in the product.

According to Reuters, Australia has the world's highest per capita penetration of rooftop solar technology, and Tesla's Powerwall is part of a green power system the company launched in May that would allow consumers to use solar panels to power their homes and recharge electric car batteries.

Tesla said other companies would also become Powerwall distributors in Australia, where soaring electricity prices, high solar panel uptake and plenty of sunshine make it an ideal market for solar battery storage products. It did not name these other firms in its initial statement.

Business Insider reports, Origin CEO, Frank Calabria, said that the company would bundle the Powerwall with solar panels from Chinese firm, Trina Solar Ltd, and inverters from Israeli-based, SolarEdge Technologies, to form a "turnkey home energy solution." The product will be available for installation starting February 2016, he said in a statement.

Tesla Powerwall will definitely help Australian households to generate, store and use solar energy efficiently. More than 15 percent of Australia's 8.4 million households have rooftop solar technology, the world's highest per capita penetration, figures from the Energy Supply Association of Australia show. Tesla is also launching the Powerwall in Germany and the United States.

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