Have you ever thought about all these electric, self-driving cars, smart houses that change the temperature and regulate the lights when you need it and thought “the future with them will be so nice and easy”. Well, the future is here.
In the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, Tesla Town is being created. The official name is YarraBend, as it is situated near the river Yarra. There are 60 houses in total with the price range from 1.48 to 2.1 million dollars. The sales started middle of October and it is expected that people will start moving in at the beginning of 2017.
The main feature that makes this town unique is that it works only on solar panels and battery storages made by Tesla Motors. The panels give enough energy for the town to provide for itself. Moreover, there is enough energy even to charge your electric car. Among other features that the citizens of YarraBend will have are the high-speed internet, a “tech-concierge” and a special app, that provides all the necessary information like weather, transport timetable and all the important news within the community. The town also includes bike paths, several children’s playgrounds, and sports facilities. Sounds like the perfect place to live, right?
The developers of this project wanted to combine technological innovation with people’s wellness and also take care of the environment. The main goal that is being pursued is making living eco-friendly. It has been already proved that the citizens are expected to produce 80% less waste and consume 43% less water and 34% less energy due to the environmental sustainable developments made especially for this project.
One of such developments is an accumulator called PowerWall, which will be used in every house. It does not require any servicing and it has a 10-year guarantee. Let’s take a closer look at what this device is all about. To start with, PowerWall itself is a battery that is put on the wall, which also requires a system of solar panels, that can be situated on the roof of the building or in the backyard. This system can be used as the main energy provider, or as a backup. Moreover, the extra energy provided by this system can be sold to your neighbors.
The main purpose of this invention is, if not to get rid of the gas and oil industries completely, then to at least make them less important in the energy business. This will lead to global changes in the energy infrastructure of our planet. While now the PowerWall system is used only by the YarraBend and some people testing it in different cities, the aim is to make it available for everyone. This can be quite a challenge, as the price of the panel is in the range of 3000-3500 dollars, the solar panels excluded. However, Tesla offers to pay for the panel in installments, the first one being 1.5 thousand dollars and then 15 dollars per year for the next 10 years. Although this panel can work for 1-2 days after being fully charged, it is advised to have at least two in your home or office.
The concept of YarraBend sounds very researched and ready to be introduced to the world. But is it only one city? Can the concept of “eco-friendly” living be applied everywhere?
Personally, I think that the project itself is very future forward and indeed can make a difference in the way people are used to living. However, I am not sure that the technology used in YarraBend will be used outside this city anytime soon. The reason would be that, first of all, the research, the production and installing it in regular houses is going to be expensive. Secondly, some people are just not ready for this technological changes and will not trust it enough to give up on the way that has been working for them for so many years. And lastly, the concept of solar panels and Tesla PowerWall relies directly on the amount of sun in the particular area, which can be a problem for countries where the sunny days are rare.
I think the solution for the first problem can be not applying the technology to existing houses, but building new “Tesla” ones and selling them, the way it is done in YarraBend. Also, the increasing of people’s awareness of the benefits that alternative sources of energy bring through educational and governmental information programs can help solving another problem mentioned above. Finally, wind and water can also be used as alternative source of energy, depending on the region, although it still requires future research and development.
I think that the whole concept of eco-friendly goods and services is on peak now, so Tesla Motors is applying correct strategy to attract customers. Moreover, its intentions to take care of the environment do deserve some recognition. It is always interesting to follow Tesla’s developments and its newest products, and YarraBend is not an exception. In the nearest future it will become clear if the concept is working and if, possibly, more and more people will switch to this type of energy consumption.