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SolarCity to back up solar with Tesla batteries

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#1 Hum

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:10

NEW YORK (AP) — The solar panel installer SolarCity is beginning to address one of solar power's big drawbacks: The sun doesn't always shine.

The solution: big battery packs that will provide backup power while lowering electric bills. The supplier: electric car maker Tesla Motors, whose CEO Elon Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity.

"Our goal is to be an energy provider, to provide all energy services," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive.

The batteries will be offered first to commercial customers because of the way many commercial electric bills are calculated. SolarCity is also conducting a pilot program in California for homeowners, but because residential bills are calculated differently — and the batteries are so expensive — it could be years before batteries make financial sense for homes.

"We know this is a long-term problem, so we are investing in it now," Rive said.

SolarCity's solar panels can lower those demand peaks when the sun is shining. SolarCity's battery packs will make sure those peaks stay low when the sun is not shining or the customer needs a little extra juice. The company says the battery systems will lower demand charges by 20 percent.

A secondary benefit: If power goes out, the battery will be able to run critical systems for several hours — or for several days if it is sunny enough for the battery to recharge with solar electricity during the day.

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#2 primexx

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:35

might as well built in the rest of a UPS as well. A household-wide UPS would be amazing.



#3 DocM

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 03:11

http://mobile.busine...er-storage-unit

Tesla's Industrial-Grade Solar Power Storage System

It’s weird to see the big, red Tesla Motors “T” logo hanging from the side of a house or a building. But it’s the real deal. The company’s march from the automobile to the home, office, and factory has begun.

This week, SolarCity, which sells and installs solar panels for residential and commercial customers, began offering an industrial-grade power storage unit produced by Tesla. The system mounts on a wall and looks something like a white mini-fridge with Tesla’s distinctive logo in the upper left corner. It contains hundreds of the same lithium-ion batteries that Tesla’s Model S sedan needs to run and, in fact, has about one-eighth of the juice found in Tesla’s top-of-the-line battery pack. “If you go to the end of the manufacturing line at the Tesla factory where they put the battery pack on, you will see these storage systems being assembled,” says Pete Rive, the co-founder and chief technology officer at Tesla.

The purpose of the storage system is twofold. It lets solar customers shift off the grid during times when energy companies charge their highest rates, and it provides a backup system during power outages. SolarCity has been offering these systems to consumers on a limited basis—a few hundred customers so far—and, as of this week, began selling it to commercial customers as well. Customers do not have to pay upfront for the hardware but will need, instead, to commit to a 10-year service agreement with monthly payments.

The battery pack would cost about $15,000 without financing. “Our long run goal is to include a storage system with every solar system we sell,” says Rive.

Utility companies typically tack on so-called demand charges during times of intense use. SolarCity uses its own DemandLogic software to control the functions of the storage unit and weigh usage vs. rates. “Our software figures all this out and says, ‘We will give you some juice right now, so you don’t have to pay the demand charge,’” Rive says.

At home, Rive has experimented with disconnecting from the grid for a couple days at a time and relying on the storage system. “It has enough power for all the critical loads,” he says. “You can bake a pizza while running your washer and drier.” (Critical pizza. Check.)

The association between SolarCity and Tesla is natural fit. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, serves as SolarCity’s chairman and, during a road trip to Burning Man, helped come up with the idea for the company. He’s also the cousin of Peter Rive and his brother, Lyndon Rive, who is SolarCity’s CEO. During a recent visit to the company’s headquarters in San Mateo, Calif., about 10 Tesla Model S all-electric sedans were in the parking lot.

At the most basic level, SolarCity looks like a solar panel installer. If, however, you dig a bit deeper, the company acts a lot more like a utility. It’s the leader in solar installations and has created a network of capacity that now is complemented by these storage systems.

The energy companies have taken notice of SolarCity’s growing ambitions. The company has been dragged into fights over the rebates people receive in some states for going solar. And politicians such as Jeff Sessions, the junior Republican senator from Alabama, have started offensives against the company, which will leave you shocked by this last sentence. Southern Co., a utility, is Session’s largest donor.


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#4 Shiranui

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 03:18

God, I love Tesla.

I might have to start worshiping Elon Musk.



#5 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:13

God, I love Tesla.

I might have to start worshiping Elon Musk.

Can we start an Elon Musk church? 



#6 +Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:17

No, better not, thread will get closed citing we already have a religion thread.



#7 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:35

Ok, how about a cult, do we have a 1 cult thread rule as well?



#8 +Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:37

Nope, I've already reserved that one, just haven't figured out what to call it yet

basically I get sent large amounts of money and get worshipped, then I abscond when I have the amount I want, to the Bahamas :p



#9 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:55

Anyways back on topic.

 

This is a great step forward in the distributed power model. It works great in the suburbs, but not so much in the larger Cities. 

 

But with the ever expanding need for electricity and the ever dwindling supply, this will be a nice stop gap. Especially in those location where they have power issues during summer. 

 

If i ever own my own house it will have a similar setup.



#10 Torolol

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 06:34

if theres good verified testimony on how awesome that is, i'll buy some too.

#11 Growled

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:55

Brilliant. It should bring in some much needed income for Tesla too.



#12 Liana

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:35

Maybe I'm missing the point, but if it doesn't save me more money than it costs, then it's more/less a giant expensive UPS, no? I think there might need to be more incentive for residential customers to purchase it. Just like solar panels for residential customers, it doesn't sound as though you'll ever break even.



#13 Torolol

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:41

depend on where that deployed, if electricity cost are expensive there, it got break even faster,
and full 10 years warranty, none of my electronics have warranty that long.

#14 IsItPluggedIn

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:46

at $375 a quarter, it has to save you a lot to break even. That is more than half my electricity bill.



#15 Nick H.

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:16

<Threads merged>



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