Tesla’s former energy head launches startup to compete against Powerwall with key partners

Tesla’s former head of energy products has launched a new startup to compete against Powerwall with a new home battery pack, and it managed to secure significant funding from key partners.

Kunal Girotra, a chemical engineer, spent five years at Tesla. During his tenure, he led energy products, including Powerwall, solar panels, and solar roofs before being promoted to head of Tesla Energy in 2018 – a role he held until he left the company in 2020.

After leaving Tesla, Girotra funded Lunar Energy, a new startup with the mission to “electrify the home and provide energy independence to homeowners worldwide.”

Lunar Energy came out of stealth mode yesterday with a press release announcing its first product and $300 million in funding from Sunrun and South Korea’s SK Group.

Girotra also confirmed that Lunar’s first product is going to be a home battery system without revealing more about it:

More than ever, we need rapid adoption of renewable energy solutions across all sectors to mitigate climate change. Lunar Energy was founded to build affordable hardware and software products for the residential sector to help homeowners generate, store and consume 100% clean energy and remove the usage of fossil fuels from every home. The first offering of our product ecosystem is a next-generation home battery system. It’s the first step towards our mission to electrify all homes and connect communities to form clean, resilient virtual power plants—freeing us from power outages, rising energy costs and harmful emissions.

It sounds like it will be competing against Tesla’s Powerwall, a product that Girotra was leading and that has been dominating the residential home battery space.

Lunar is also going to have strong partners in Sunrun and SK to deliver the product.

Sunrun is the largest residential solar installer in the US, and it has been installing home battery packs with its system. Interestingly, it parntnered with Tesla to install Powerwalls back in 2020, but we heard that Sunrun was having issues getting supply from Tesla, which has been focusing on supplying Powerwalls directly to its own customers.

Lynn Jurich, chair of Lunar Energy and cofounder and co-executive chair of Sunrun, commented on the new partnership:

As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for those rare opportunities where you can invest in exceptional people with a big vision. Kunal, and the engineering team at Lunar Energy, are building at scale home electrification products that will dramatically accelerate the switch from fossil fuels to renewables. I’m excited to see Sunrun, and the industry at large, begin offering Lunar Energy solutions to millions of homes across the nation.

As for SK, the company is a large supplier of battery cells, which could obviously find their ways into Lunar products.

Along with these three announcements to come out of stealth mode, Lunar also announced that it acquired Moixa, a software company for distributed energy resources (DER) management:

In acquiring UK-based software leader Moixa, Lunar will combine revolutionary new hardware with the proven GridShare™ software that manages the thousands of batteries across Europe and Japan. Currently, GridShare software—now Lunar Gridshare™—is deployed at scale across 35,000 homes (330MWh of batteries) via ITOCHU in Japan, supports advanced smart charging services for Honda electric vehicles, and facilitated UPS’s transition to electric vehicle fleets in the UK.

With all of these pieces together, Lunar Energy putting a smart energy puzzle together.

But for now, it looks like Lunar is mostly coming out of stealth mode as part of a recruiting effort since it is not ready to announce the details of its first consumer product just yet.

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