The guy who's diligently working on a plan to transport humans to Mars has also been toiling on a project that makes use of the sun. That project, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery made by Tesla called Powerwall, is designed to be installed in homes and store solar energy to be used at night or during power outages, CNNMoney reports. And that guy who announced it last night in a live-streamed unveiling in California is Elon Musk, the ambitious Tesla CEO who hopes this energy alternative will reduce our need for fossil fuels, the Detroit Free Press reports. "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck," he said, per the newspaper. "They're really horrible." Not the Powerwall, according to Musk, which is scheduled to start shipping sometime this summer, the AP reports.
The 220-pound wall-mounted battery charges "using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low," the Powerwall site explains. But there's a cost to get there: The batteries go for $3,000 or $3,500, depending on its juice capacity, plus installation. "The value proposition now is around reliability and backup power more than it is around savings, but over time that may change," says an analyst with GTM Research. Indeed, Musk's brother Kimbal, one of Tesla's board members, told CNNMoney earlier in the week that the battery would cut electricity bills by 25%. As the AP explains, as more utilities permit power prices to fluctuate throughout the day based on market conditions, Powerwall software will let customers use their own home-generated power—and not costly grid power—when grid prices are highest.