SpaceX to increase on-site solar and Tesla Powerpack battery capacity at its Starbase facility


At its Boca Chica, Texas Starbase facility, SpaceX is expanding its on-site solar and energy storage to support operations. The project will add 750 kW of Trina Solar modules and roughly 4 MWh of battery energy storage supplied by Tesla Powerpack batteries.

In total, the site will expand by 1.7 acres, boosting capacity by about 30% and expanding the total footprint of the array to about 7.1 acres. Once complete, the system will be a 1.6 MW solar facility with up to 8 MWh of battery energy storage. The battery energy storage is expected to help with intermittent generation cycles of solar PV and to provide ancillary services like peak demand shaving for SpaceX.

SpaceX demonstrates its Falcon Heavy rocket.
Image: SpaceX

The Tesla Powerpack

Tesla has been building integrated battery systems for over fifteen years, and the Powerpack is the large-scale counterpart to the Tesla PowerWall home battery. The batteries are modular and scalable from smaller commercial to the largest utility-scale projects. Each unit contains 16 individual battery pods, each with an isolated DC-DC converter. The architecture of the pods makes for easy swapping, said Tesla.

Powerpacks have been deployed worldwide, operating in over 2 GWh of deployments. An internal liquid cooling and heating temperature allows for precise temperature control. A dual coolant and refrigerant loop system adapted from the Tesla Model S provides improved efficiency when compared with air cooling, said the company.

The Powerpack has 380 to 480 V, and three phases. Up to 232 kWh of AC capacity lies in each battery, and it can supply up to 130 kW AC per battery. The scalable inverter power spans from 70 kVA to 700 kVA at 480V. The company reports 88% round-trip efficiency for two-hour applications, and 89.5% efficiency in four-hour applications.

Tesla Powerpack

Image: Tesla

The battery is rated to perform between –22 F to 122 F, has an enclosure rated for a wide range of environments, and has nationally accredited certifications to international safety, EMC, utility and environmental legislation. Each Powerpack measures 50.9” x 38.1” x 86.1” and weighs 4,847 lbs. The inverter measures in at 41.1” x 54.9” x 86.2” and weighs 2,470 lbs.

One customer of the Tesla Powerpack, Advanced Microgrid Services (AMS), installed 16 Powerpacks on-site on its building for peak shaving and capacity reserve purposes. The project totaled 1.5 MWh / 250 kW.

“At AMS, we need the most advanced energy storage to harness more than a million square feet of building load to power the electric grid. Tesla Energy consistently delivers outstanding reliability and technology innovation to our projects,” said AMS.

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