Tesla is best known as the maker of luxurious, ludicrously fast electric vehicles. But the company’s larger effort is to diminish reliance on fossil fuels and enhance opportunities to create renewable energy. Some stations in the automaker’s quick-charging system are already solar-powered. Last fall Tesla purchased SolarCity, America’s largest solar energy service provider. Now the brand wants to bring the option of alternative power to your home.

One of the means for accomplishing this is the new Tesla Powerwall, a 14 kWh battery pack that can store enough solar energy to run a 1,000-square-foot house for a day. Solar panels work only when the sun is shining, so quality batteries are key for nighttime or cloudy-day use of the electricity they create. The Powerwall can also be used to store energy bought from the grid during lower-price off-peak hours for use whenever you want. It can also store surplus solar energy that can, in many locales, be sold back to local utility companies. It can even act as a backup power source for your house in case of an outage or emergency, even if you don’t have a solar array, storing electricity to use if the grid is down, much like a silent generator.

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