Tesla, the electric car titan, sure knows how to pack in the power. The company recently unveiled what could be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery power system. Spanning 396 stacks of batteries, the project is able to store and emit enough electricity to power 2,500 households for a whole day. Oh, and they built this facility in less than six months.
This battery storage for the Southern California Edison power grid is one of the first projects of its kind since Tesla completed its $5 billion battery-making Gigafactory. The grid-scale system is essentially a larger connected version of the company’s $3,500 Powerwall, built for storing solar-generated power at home. Musk has said previously that 160 of the larger, utility-scale systems would have enough storage capacity to power the entire U.S.
But with great energy storage comes great drawbacks. Lithium batteries are pricey to produce and buy. Analysts predict that the cost of such projects would need to fall by 50 percent first in order to be profitable in a place like California, Bloomberg reports. There are also a host of remaining unknowns about the life cycles of these facilities and exactly how long such a storage system will last.