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Tesla to build world's largest battery in Australia

Billionaire Tesla owner Elon Musk is to make good on a promise to solve South Australia's energy crisis within 100 days or his company's services will be free. The battery will be able to store energy for 30,000 homes.

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX, will embark on another ambitious project, with the aim to world's largest grid-scale battery within 100 days, the company confirmed on Friday.

The 46-year-old South African-born entrepreneur had agreed in the spring to come up with a solution to South Australia's renewable energy crisis, which the two sides have since spent months firming up.

Australia's fifth largest state, with a population of 1.7 million, has pushed ahead with a vision for renewable sources of energy on a large scale.

But South Australia has placed an enormous focus on wind energy, with French group Neoen's Hornsdale wind farm constructing a $250 million plant in the north of the state. It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2017.

End to blackouts?

South Australia has suffered numerous blackouts as a result of not being able to store its renewable energy. Residents were left without power for several days last September after a storm caused a complete blackout in the region.

Musk and his team will look to build a 129-megawatt battery, which would not just have enough capacity to run 30,000 homes but be able to store energy in the event of a shortfall.

If they don't finish the project within 100 days, then the services are free to the state.

"There is certainly some risk, because this will be largest battery installation in the world by a significant margin ... the next biggest battery in the world is 30 megawatts," Musk explained.

Musk's firm has spent three months as the US' most valuable automaker ahead of Ford and General Motors, the country's two most dominant manufacturers.

But shares in Tesla have recently plunged by up to 15 percent, meaning the company's value dropped to $50.74 billion (44.46 billion euros) - almost two million less than General Motors.

Watch video 01:21

Tesla Model 3 on the verge of mass production

rd/mm (dpa, Reuters)

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