A SOUTH African entrepreneur holds the potential key to addressing our energy crisis in his hands.
Founder and chief executive officer of electric car company Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has announced the development of a new battery system that stores solar-generated power to fire up homes and businesses.
The battery is also designed to store energy more efficiently.
But, with the nation facing a power crisis, it could be a while before South Africans can benefit from it.
The multi-billionaire, originally from Pretoria, now lives in the US where he runs his company.
While people getting off the grid is common, technology’s inability up until now to store excess solar-generated electricity is one of its weaknesses. The battery pack Musk is behind is for storing energy from sources like wind, sun, coal, and nuclear fuel.
Musk has reportedly said: “We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery or the sort of consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon.
“We have the design done, and it should start going to production probably in about six months.”
Professor Edward Boje, head of electrical engineering at the University of Cape Town, hailed the idea.
“Because there is less demand for electricity at night, storing excess energy for use during daytime peaks is a sensible idea.”
While it would initially be expensive, it would eventually become affordable through economies of scale.