#9 Elon Musk, Chairman & CEO, Tesla
Moving away from electric cars, Tesla announced the Power pack and Power wall batteries for storage of electricity in buildings in April 2015. Power pack and Power wall offer some of the first power solutions to store surplus power generation from solar panels for later use at the individual home level. The discussion around these products have been underscored by Musk’s vision of bringing affordable electricity products to consumers, with affordability a cornerstone of the products’ appeal. However, they are currently not economical for home use by many people, with the smaller units costing $3,500. Musk has hinted that the costs may come down as the company opens a ‘gigafactory’ in Nevada to ramp up their production.
The real benefits of this technology will be felt when economies of scale and competition force prices down further, bringing the technology within easy reach of consumers. The batteries could see wide usage by utilities companies, who currently rely on peaking plants to deal with surplus electricity demand. This could fundamentally change the way that power plants are managed and lead to the development of small-scale smart grids.