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Tesla will install more energy storage with Solarcity in 2016 than the USA installed in 2015

solarcity powerwall

It looks like Tesla is about to change the battery game – this time by installing more energy storage capacity in 2016 with SolarCity alone than all of the USA installed in 2015. In a recent filing with the SEC, it was found that Tesla foresees an almost 10X increase in sales to SolarCity for behind the meter storage.

We recognized approximately $4.9 million in revenue from SolarCity during fiscal year 2015 for sales of energy storage products governed by this master supply agreement, and anticipate recognizing approximately $44.0 million in such revenues during fiscal year 2016.


According to an analysis by GTM’s Ravi Manghan this revenue projection means Tesla expects to install approximately 116 MWh of behind the meter storage. In all of 2015, the United States installed about 76 MWh of behind the meter. Starting from a very low base, SolarCity and Tesla Energy doubled their battery installation volume last year. These were small installations at test locations for special customers, but that wall of ‘start up’ is already starting to fall.

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Of course, this number – 116 MWh – does not include the largest storage project on SolarCity’s horizon – Kauai Island’s coming 52 MWh system.  The State of Hawaii, in aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2045, has contracted with SolarCity to balance the two 12MW Solar Power plants with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).

This is just the beginning. With Tesla CTO JB Straubel saying things like “I really love batteries. I might love batteries more than cars” – we should expect so much more in the future. A presentation by Straubel at the EIA Conference in July of 2015 outlined a vision for adding significant volumes of battery storage to the grid via EVs like the Tesla vehicles.

By 2020 – there will be 70 GWh of Tesla battery storage on the road, and – as you can see in the slide below – Straubel expects there to be 10 GWh of controllable load in those cars. This means, instead of spinning up gas turbine power plants to balance out grid imbalances, the power companies will be able to tap into your car.

Tesla Connected Fleet


With Germany’s Million Electric Car march underway, the price of batteries falling much like solar power already has and scientists globally working hard to figure out how to integrate those vehicles – we already have CEOs of major power companies stating that batteries are about to change the grid.

Battery storage, much like residential solar power, will offer private individuals the ability to control their energy future. I expect Tesla & SolarCity to release a highly integrated Solar Power + Powerwall + Tesla vehicle system for a residential home. It makes too much sense – and there is too much demand.

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  1. quiviran - 7 years ago

    “I expect Tesla & SolarCity to release a highly integrated Solar Power + Powerwall + Tesla vehicle system for a residential home. It makes too much sense – and there is too much demand.” Yup. Add one more element, a well designed, affordable, modern manufactured home, and Tesla defines lifestyle for the next 30 years.

    The fossil energy utility industry will rue the day they refused to grid-tie this free generation capacity, once they figure out no one really needs them. Distributed renewable energy production is more robust, resilient and scalable than the centralized, grid-distributed behemoths that are about to see the sunset.

  2. Bubba2000 - 7 years ago

    A few things will have to change. Tesla will have to limit or collect $ for folks to use their Supercharger network, especially in places like CA with rates as hi as 25 cents/KWhr. In Germany and other countries the electricity rate is around 36 cents/KWh. Also, the number of cycles will increase and eat up the life of the battery. I do not think I would want to reduce the battery capacity just to save a few $ per month of my electric bill which at 8 cents/KWhr is dirt cheap.Where I live at 8 cents/KWhr, the Power Wall does not make sense. Neither do solar panels.

    I think dedicated Power Wall makes sense with solar panels in places like CA or Germany where power rates are insanely hi. In my experience, the folks in countries with unstable grids that will benefit the most. Starting with South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria, India, etc. They loose power or get brownouts about 5 times/day. They will need specialized surge protectors and voltage stabilizers that can handler the voltage peak, throughs, spikes, etc. Huge market.

  3. Ken - 7 years ago

    I don’t want power companies taking gas out of my car when it sits in the driveway. Even if they pay me fair market value for my gas, I’m expecting it to be there when I need to drive to work in the morning. If there’s some power emergency during the night somewhere, I still need to be able to get to work in the morning. Similarly, I don’t want a power company to draw from my electric car that I’m counting on being ready to go in the morning.

    • John Fitzgerald Weaver - 7 years ago

      I’ve got a feeling it’ll be limited to a certain amount based upon your individual needs.

    • Bubba2000 - 7 years ago

      Excessive cycling of your car battery will shorten its life. Power company will abuse your battery to max their profits.

    • Fabian - 7 years ago

      It will rather be only powerdraw to your car battery when consumption of energy is low not the other way around. Losses would start to get significant and it would be better to have the batterypack at the powerplant side.

  4. tom - 7 years ago

    stupid question but what’s the argument for lithium over lead for permanent (non-mobile) applications? yeah, it has higher energy density but for dwelling/office applications does that matter? I have to assume on a cost basis lead still wins or cars/boats would’ve abandoned it years ago?

    • John Fitzgerald Weaver - 7 years ago

      Lithium can be run deeper into the capacity – 80-100% vs 30% – and it can be used a greater number of times – 3000 cycles versus 1000.