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How to say goodbye to your power company forever

Wouldn’t it be great if you never had to pay another power bill? If you could generate and store your own power – without any negative impact on the environment at all? Just a dream? Not any more.

Bye to your power company
Elon Musk announces his groundbreaking Tesla Powerwall last week

Last week, billionaire Elon Musk announced an innovation that could make your power company obsolete.
Recent advances in solar panel technology have dramatically brought down the costs of producing your own power - and made the panels far more efficient generators, even in the winter.

solar panels developed by his SolarCity
Musk with the super-efficient solar panels developed by his SolarCity company

But until last week, there was a "missing link" in the quest for homeowners to become self-sufficient. Yes, they could make their own power, but there was no economical way to store it for when you needed it – typically at night or on cold sunless days.

But as of last week, Elon Musk’s Energy Powerwall has changed all that.

South African-born American Musk made his fortune inventing things. He is most famous in the United States for his Tesla electric cars. These redefined the electric car. Instead of looking like an experimental vehicle – the clunky-looking semi-electric Toyota Prius springs to mind – Teslas look sporty and sleek. They can run for more than 300 kilometres on a single charge.

Tesla Model S
  Musk standing in front of a Tesla Model S in 2011

It was Musk’s quest for a longer-lasting battery for the Tesla that led to the idea of an in-home battery that could store enough power to keep your entire household running for days – maybe weeks. For around US$3,500, the Powerwall offers either 7- or 10-kWh of storage, and will allow home owners to store energy they produce with a solar array—even go off the grid if they want. 

Musk believes the Powerwall will be a gamechanger.
“Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk says. “At the extreme scale.”

Musk and President Barack Obama at the SpaceX
  Musk and President Barack Obama at the SpaceX launch site in 2010

Having changed the world yet again, Musk is now focusing on his other gamechanging interests – making rockets with his Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and developing a subsonic air travel machine called Hyperloop that would enable passengers to travel the 560 kilometres between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 35 minutes.

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