Last year, Tesla announced that it was working with Southern California Edison (SCE) to create the largest lithium-ion battery in the world. This project will install 20 MW (80 MWh) Powerpack systems at the Mira Loma substation to provide grid-scale power in response to possible power shortages. Tesla announced that they were looking to deliver these systems to the substation by the end of 2016.
Now, Electrek reports that not only is the project up and running, but the company was actually able to meet the ambitious deadline they set, with the substation having been completed in late December of 2016. According to Electrek:
“While Tesla and SCE haven’t officially launched the new substation yet, sources familiar with the new Powerpack installation told Electrek that it was completed a few weeks back – late December – and brought online so that the electric utility can start using it to manage peak demand.”
The substation is equipped with 400 units of the Tesla Powerpack 2, each capable of providing 210 kWh of energy —over double the capacity of the first generation Powerpack.
Given its total capacity, the substation can hold enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a full day. However, it will be used to support SCE’s existing power sources instead so that it can service a bigger number of households. By storing electricity outside of peak hours, the substation can help deliver electricity even when demand is high and reduce reliance on natural gas peaker plants.
There are other projects currently in the works that could rival the scale of this initiative, but the Tesla-SCE energy storage project is the only one that’s already in operation. This is also the first large-scale utility application of Tesla’s Powerpacks. And should it prove to be successful, it could pave the way for traditional peaker plants to be replaced by battery-powered, energy storage stations.
This project alone marks a shift among current power suppliers who want to focus on finding cleaner and more reliable sources of energy. And following its merger with Solar City, Tesla is in a key position to continue work on various large-scale solar and energy projects.
As the environmental, financial, and political repercussions of a dependence on fossil fuel continue to escalate, the necessity of sustainable, reliable, clean energy sources grows. Tesla continues to live up to its reputation for supporting environmentally-friendly energy. This project shows that it is possible for innovators like Tesla to work together with current energy providers to make a transition to clean energy possible.