Whether we want to admit it or not, Nikola Tesla was onto something...big! His alternating current invention was not only groundbreaking in the wireless communication arena, but has had a huge role in proving how invaluable solar power has been and will continue to be. Tesla may have lost various patent "battles", but his formative work in the way electricity is provided was spot on. We can simply look to the wide use of solar power and batteries together to see just how right Tesla really was.
1) The process of using solar cells to produce the energy needed to power the American home is quite complex. The joint effort between panels and Tesla inspired inverters make the whole thing possible. Without boring you with the mathematical equations suffice to say that energy from the sun is received as direct current (DC) and then converted into alternate current (AC) power. So at its very core, solar energy could not be used to power anything, let alone an entire home, without Tesla's innovation in induction motors.
2) The sun doesn't shine all the time. Every night and on cloudy days you would be unable to finish the laundry, cook dinner or even turn on the lights if you rely on solar power alone. Tesla's brilliance comes to the rescue once again. Using a home battery based on his patents we are able to store and literally "bank" unused power generated. This excess can then be used at night, on cloudy days or any other time your home energy needs exceed typical production.
3) As of late, the cost to install and maintain solar power panels has dropped significantly, but it's still far from free. Most solar power patrons justify the cost of initial installation by in essence "selling" used power back to the local electricity company. This business model works well for homeowners who live on-the-grid. What if I told you that Tesla invented a system that was free? Hard to believe, I know. This free energy receiver was patented in 1901. His invention uses both sunshine (for day time) and cosmic rays (for night) to supply free, renewable energy for all.
4) Most solar customers have the same subtle complaint about the home set up. Sometimes, there's just not enough power. If you live in Arizona, for instance, during the summer months you'll likely require LOTS of energy to run your home air conditioning unit all day and night. This type of demand cannot always be met with the ample solar supply. Sadly, Tesla died before building the solution that he patented. In this "thousand times more powerful" design he uses a coated plate (positive) and the ground (negative) to build electricity in a capacitor. Then using a spin-off of the Tesla circuit controller, the accumulated energy could be potentially be used to power even the most energy hungry air conditioning units. Good news for those in Arizona.
5) None of this is ancient history. The Tesla Corporation continues to make impressive strides to develop modern day solutions to the ongoing energy crisis. The Powerwall home battery is one such solution. This solar energy storage battery is simple to use, easy to install, inexpensive to maintain and far more aesthetically pleasing than any other battery system on the market. This Powerwall is uniquely designed to fit well with the existing solar systems that are already selling successfully. Tesla's batteries could become so closely associated with solar power that the two ultimately become the technical norm for the majority of households and businesses.
Nikola Tesla may have been light years ahead of his time. If he could only see the way his inventions, which were deemed crazy at the time, have evolved into the problem solvers of the future.