Not so long ago, we thought it was a big deal when home builders started offering solar as a standard option. Now Australian builder Arden Homes is going one step further—they are offering solar and battery storage as standard. It's a little unclear from their literature, but it appears that solar is available as a 5kW or 6kW configuration—and comes with a Tesla Powerwall 2, which offers 13.5kWh of storage capacity. Arden estimates that this combo should allow a family of 4 to meet 90% of their own energy needs on a typical Australian day.
That's a pretty big deal. And it seems they're not alone in pushing this technology. Cleantechnica reports that Melbourne-based Metricon is offering solar plus storage as an option on new homes it's building in Queensland.
Given the ridiculously volatile electrical grid in Australia—and Elon Musk's high-profile bet that he could fix it—I can think of no better place for battery storage to go truly mainstream first. And as with many such technologies, as more and more new home owners get experience of solar plus storage, one can expect their friends and relatives to get more familiar with the concept too.What would be really neat, of course, is if these "sexy" upgrades were combined with commitments to other elements of sustainable design: decent bike storage, walkable neighborhoods, electric vehicle chargers as standard etc.
Still, this is an exciting step toward the inevitable disruption of electric grids as we know them. Expect other home builders to up the ante soon.