By Thorvin Anderson, CFA, Content Director, “Foundations for Commodities” Professional Education Program, JPMCC, University of Colorado Denver Business School and Member of the JPMCC’s Research Council
As discussed at the JPMCC’s September 2016 Research Council meeting, recent developments in battery technology have given rise to energy storage devices targeting not just wholesale or grid support operations, but residential buyers as well. While several manufacturers compete in this space, it is Tesla, with its Powerwall, that has commanded the majority of media attention. Billed as a complement to residential rooftop solar installations, the Powerwall offers homeowners the allure of some measure of energy independence, reliability, and cost savings, all with not-too-subtle intimations that use of this storage technology is associated with superior environmental stewardship. This paper examines the Powerwall product, and by implication its competitors, in the context of today’s electricity markets to consider the validity of these claims and the prospect of retail electricity storage significantly impacting the electric market.