More and more organizations are investing in environmentally responsible solutions across a wide range of sectors in pursuit of sustainability. As we emerge from an era of ‘planned obsolescence,’ an era marred by scarcity and degradation in which the average consumer was powerless to control or manage their ecological footprint, companies like Tesla, and its leader, Elon Musk, represent a shining beacon of light on an otherwise dark plane of reality.
Back in June of 2014, Musk announced that Tesla would allow its technology patents to be used freely. His stated goal was to entice other companies to adopt his technology and thus foster innovation. This gesture pairs well with the announcement of the GigaFactory being built in Sparks Nevada, which will take the title of “largest lithium ion battery plant in the world.” “Largest” here doesn’t really do justice to the fact that it will actually be larger than all other lithium ion battery factories on the planet combined!
It’s worth noting to the uninitiated that ‘Giga’ is a unit of measurement representing billions, and the Gigafactory intends on producing 35 Gigawatt hours per year. This means that 1 Gwh is equivalent to generating or consuming 1 billion watts of power per hour. To put this in perspective, a typical household refrigerator consumes around 650 watts on average per year.
Tesla, since its inception, has had the goal of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable transportation. This goal requires that they produce enough vehicles to force a shift in the automobile industry. With the Gigafactory, this will be possible by the year 2020 at a rate of 500,000 cars per year. Capabilities include innovative manufacturing in waste reduction and optimization of manufacturing processes, all under one roof. Within this diamond-shaped, North-facing factory, all energy will come from renewable energy sources, with the end goal of achieving net zero energy. There are solar panels spanning the roughly 6.5 million square foot roof, as well as wind turbines to the north providing additional power.
Tesla plans to build more than one Gigafactory with Japan, the second largest source of Tesla components, serving as the next potential site. While this may be an extreme example of ‘go big or go home,’ it provides a truly visionary approach to energy intelligence. Ultimately, robust sustainability initiatives will allow organizations to boost efficiency and reduce overall cost. And, with initiatives like Gigafactory, Tesla showing the way to a more sustainable ecosystem across the globe.