How do you power the world’s largest Gigafactory? With solar of course. Just after announcing that its Gigafactory was up and running, Tesla is shocking the world again with news that the gigantic Nevada-based lithium-ion battery factory with be powered with its own 70-megawatt solar roof. This means that one of the world’s largest buildings is about to be powered entirely by renewable, clean energy.
The Gigafactory’s solar array will be seven times larger than any solar roof currently installed, anywhere in the world. The solar panels will likely be provided by Solar City, says the Verge, which Tesla acquired in November of last year. In a hand-out released by Electrek, Tesla says that its Powerpack batteries will be made with the power of the sun, allowing the factory to run with great efficiency and zero carbon emissions. Tesla could even end up producing more energy than it actually needs.
Even the heating and water will be sustainable at the Gigafactory. Tesla’s literature stated,
“Gigafactory’s closed-loop water supply system uses six different treatment systems to efficiently re-circulate about 1.5 million liters (that’s around 400,000 gallons) of water, representing an 80 percent reduction in fresh water usage compared with standard processes.”
When you are in the middle of a desert, that’s not a small feat. But, that’s not all tesla has planned. They are even starting a recycling plant so that they can safely reprocess battery cells, packs, and modules to obtain used metal for new cells that are built.
The only other companies using solar on this scale are Whirlpool Corporation’s Regional Distribution Center in Perris, California, utilizing 10 MW, and another in India that uses 11.5 MW. They are both dwarfed by Tesla in comparison.
Elon Musk has already proven that he thinks outside the box with his other projects, including Space X, but the Gigafactory stands to possibly be the most sustainable corporate project in the US to date. Tesla has claimed that it would not use ANY fossil fuels in its Gigafactory, and now, through the 70 MW solar rooftop array and solar ground installations, that bodacious claim is being realized.
Investors recently got to complete a partial tour of the Gigafactory, but didn’t make it past the Model 3 Battery Pack shown on Tesla’s hand out. Tesla confirmed last week that they plan for the new 2170 battery cells to make their way into Model 3 battery packs as soon as in Q2 2017.
Who knows what other wonderful and exciting news the company may have to share.