ONTARIO (CBSLA.com) — The large white boxes don’t look like much, but Southern California Edison says they could change the way homeowners get their energy in the future. They’re basically high tech batteries.
“Think about your cell phone. You plug your cell phone in to charge, you use it, that battery discharges, you charge it again,” Ron Nichols, of Southern California Edison, said. “This is just a big rechargeable battery on steroids.”
The lithium ion battery units were designed by Tesla to help Southern California Edison take advantage of its renewable energy sources. Now solar power generated during the day can be stored and used after the sun goes down.
“It’s technology that wasn’t there before, and we’re now ready to deploy it where it’s needed to a location where it works,” Nichols said.
A substation in Ontario has nearly 400 units that can hold enough of a charge to power 15,000 homes for four hours. Tesla fast-tracked the installation of this facility after leaks caused the shutdown of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
From the day they broke ground to getting it online at the end of last year was only 88 days.
This is one of the first large scale facilities like this in the country. Southern California Edison is in the process of building more battery facilities, which they hope will help them reach the goal of having 33 percent of their energy come from renewable sources by 2020.