Elon Musk, serial entrepreneur and founder of Tesla Motors, is no stranger to controversy.
Last year he made headlines by attempting to sue the U.S. Air Force after his company SpaceX failed to win a contract to launch national security satellites.
But if he rolls out his latest project he stands to give the global energy companies a well-deserved kick in the teeth. His invention, hailed as “the holy grail” of energy storage by influential marketing firm SmartPower, is making some real waves.
His vision, which even he admits “sounds crazy”, is “to change the entire infrastructure of the world to zero carbon”. Last Thursday he revealed his new type of battery which extracts energy from rooftop panels and stores it for use in homes and businesses. This will take pressure off national grids and provide people with energy security in times of power outages.
Of course people using solar panels in a bid to save energy and cash is nothing new. According to the Department of Energy & Climate Change there were almost five gigawatts (5GW) of solar photovoltaic panels installed in the UK by the end of last year – just under a 50% increase from the year before. That’s 650,000 installations which is enough to power 1.5m homes.
The difference is that at the moment any surplus energy generated by solar panels is sold back to the energy suppliers. However, with Elon Musk’s new battery people can store their own energy and cut the companies out.
No doubt there are some nervous corporate minions scuttling around their head offices this week.