Tesla has been awarded a contract to install the world's largest lithium ion battery. Under the agreement, the company will build the system within 100 days or else it's free—a promise CEO Elon Musk famously made in March to help solve South Australia's energy woes.
The billionaire entrepreneur spoke about the technology to reporters in Adelaide on Friday and claimed that the battery will be three times more powerful than any other storage system on Earth. Musk noted that "the next biggest battery in the world is 30 megawatts."
"This is not a minor foray into the frontier ... I'm pretty darn impressed with South Australia willing to do a project of this magnitude that is beyond anything else in the world," Musk said.
Tesla said its efforts were in response to a 50-year storm in September 2016 that damaged critical infrastructure in South Australia and caused widespread blackouts and left 1.7 million residents without electricity. The state has also been plagued by further blackouts from the heat of the Australian summer in early 2017.
"Upon completion by December 2017, this system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world and will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes, approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period," Tesla said.
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said the battery will protect the state from future energy-related crises.
"It will completely transform the way in which renewable energy is stored, and also stabilize the South Australian network as well as putting downward pressure on prices," Weatherill said.
Musk repeated his promise that if the system is not operational in 100 days, the technology will be provided for free.
"There will be a lot of people that will look at this—'Did they get it done within 100 days? Did it work?'" Musk said. "We are going to make sure it does."
The cost of the contract has not yet been announced, but failing to deliver the project in time would cost his company "$50 million or more," Musk said.