Tesla Energy to build the world's largest battery storage facility in California

Tesla Energy has been awarded the contract for the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world. On completion in Los Angeles, the energy arm of Tesla, still best known for its cars, said it would hold enough electricity to power 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 of its sleek vehicles.

CEO Elon Musk announced last year that Tesla was entering the energy storage field in a big way. It would not only make home storage units, its Tesla Powerwall, but would cater to the utility market. It also had its new battery Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada, that would allow it to produce even more units.

As far back as 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission pointed the way for electric utilities to make greater use of storage and mandated that investor-owned utilities had a combined target of 1,325 MW energy storage online by 2024.

Energy systems play an important role in the burgeoning solar power sector in the state, as without it the energy must be used when it was generated, which might not be the moment when it was needed most. However, by sending power to the batteries instead, the power could be discharged when the sun was not shining or in the hot, late-afternoons when air-conditioning units were going full blast.

Tesla would supply 20 MW  of energy storage to Southern California Edison to prevent blackouts by replacing fossil-fuel electricity generation with lithium-ion batteries. Tesla's contribution was enough to power about 2,500 homes for a full day, the company said in a blog post yesterday. However, the real significance of the deal was the speed with which lithium-ion battery packs were being deployed.

"The storage is being procured in a record time frame," months instead of years, said Yayoi Sekine, a battery analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Bloomberg reported. "It highlights the maturity of advanced technologies like energy storage to be contracted as a reliable resource in an emergency situation."