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At a private shindig in little town called New York City last week, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and Chairman Elon Musk (Lyndon’s cousin and also the CEO, Chief Product Architect, and Chairman of Tesla Motors) made a few casual but potentially world-changing announcements, as is practically a habit with Elon.
Most notably, they stated that SolarCity would be including battery backup systems with every single one of its rooftop solar power systems within 5-10 years. Even with the battery backups, Lyndon and Elon contend that a SolarCity installation will cost less than the price of electricity from the grid! Solar panel costs and battery costs have been coming down fast in the past several years, and that cost reduction is projected to continue. Will SolarCity really be delivering battery backup systems with all of its solar rooftops for a combined price that is lower than grid electricity in just 5-10 years? Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. In Hawaii and Alaska with sky-high grid electricity prices, it’s absolutely trivial to beat the grid prices. And then we have ass-backwards, money-grubbing utilities like SRP in Arizona, where they just slapped a $600 per year charge on rooftop solar homeowners.
For minimal backup, and riding over TOU peaks, a few hours to a day would be plenty; ~100 kg or less. What all electric cars out there that can do 0-60 in 4 second and can go 200 miles on a single charge and yet cost less then Tesla? Ron, so you are saying that a fair price in today’s market is $3.20 x 8330 watts (my system) = $26,656? Explain to me how that is a better deal than $9,800 (paid upfront) for the same system for 20 years?
That is $1.84 per watt, but would be lower if you calculated in the value of later payments rather than upfront money.
I could not attach a screen shot of my SolarCity contract, but I have Zachary’s email and will forward him the pdf file along with the design. That needs to be adjusted a bit for loss of investment value, but being a fairly safe investment with a fixed rate of return one would need to use rates for quality bonds for a comparison, so the numbers wouldn’t change a lot.
My first year will hit in three days and my system has produced 13,100 kwh, so I am actually running 25% higher than what was guaranteed. Based on the fact that I actually spent $9,800 for this PPA and that the system has produced 13,100 kwh, then the actual cost for electricity for the first year comes in at 3.7 cents per kwh.
Seems like it boils down to they will sell you a large block of electricity over the next X years for a fixed price along with permission to put their panels on your roof. I’d love to read a good explanation of how it all works and your personal experience to date.
I believe the reason that SolarCity is able to offer such a low price is simple efficiency. My arrangement for the actual electricity will soon be with TXU Energy, a retail electricity provider. I never wrote the article simply because I posted so much about this in the comment section. I’m located near Dallas, plus I have now paid off more than a third of my system after a little bit more than two years. I would be interested in hearing what rates you are getting these days from the big boys (SC) and also the local providers. One concern I have in the future is whether the four of five companies offering electricity generation buybacks will continue in the future.
As I have stated on Cleantechnica before, I bought a 8.33 kw system (20 year PPA) for $9,800. Also, it sounds like you have net metering, which in effect is a feed-in tariff at the full retail rate.
It basically boils down to how much more one is ok paying for 25~30 years of free juice plus retaining ownership of the roof, vs ~14 years.
TXU (the one I am now starting with) has a plan that offers nights free (9 pm to 6 am) and a price of $0.162 per kwh the rest of the time. I would not agree that long term savings are better for traditional systems based on my own pricing of systems one year ago.
The amount of people using solar energy to power their households independently has been steadily rising in the US over the past decade or so. But there are issues with solar power, mainly to do with storing excess energy for future use. Tesla’s industrial grade solar power storage system as installed with SolarCity panels on homes in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. This could all change with the Tesla lithium-ion home battery, announced by CEO Elon Musk in an investor call in early February. The Tesla battery is important because it makes off-grid living more possible than ever before, with the battery actually able to store energy captured by solar panels and utilize it whenever necessary. Tesla batteries are already being installed on commercial buildings powered by the solar panels of another Musk-chaired company, SolarCity; according to an analyst at GTM Research, these companies have paid 20-30 percent less in energy costs as a result. SolarCity has already installed hundreds of prototypes of Tesla battery systems in homes, like the one shown here. Until now, the elephant in the room has been the cost of the battery, and whether it would be affordable enough for said average homeowner.
The Powerwall is a residential battery system that Musk says will create smart micro grids that will create greater stability in electrical infrastructure through sustainable energy. The 10 kWh model goes for $3,500 and the 7 kWh model goes for $3,000 and both come with a 10-year warranty. The second option is The Powerpack, an industrial sized model strong enough to power large businesses and even public utility companies. Tesla and Panasonic’s $5 billion“Gigafactory,” currently under construction in Nevada, could make the technology even more widely available and affordable.
Living off-grid was a prospect only imaginable for a few particularly fortunate individuals, but Musk believes that Tesla Energy’s zero carbon batteries are the first step at creating a society thats not reliant on the often environmentally-apathetic companies that own the utility lines. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla thinks that as the solar industry begins to boom, lithium-ion battery prices will drop and many homeowners will become more interested in going off the grid.
IDC Energy Insights breaks out how Tesla and SolarCity’s play for residential solar battery backup systems may play out in California and other states. Have electric carmaker Tesla and solar power installer and financier SolarCity cracked the financial code for backing up residential rooftop solar panels with household batteries? But battery backup for solar panels has been too expensive to justify for all but the wealthiest of homeowners. That’s too bad, because battery backup could really help solve some of the larger-scale problems associated with connecting lots of intermittent, on-again, off-again solar power to the grid. Jaffe also states that SolarCity is offering the systems at a cost of $2,000 per kilowatt-hour, which would add up to $40,000 for a 5-kilowatt system.

Adding the ITC benefits to the SGIP incentives cuts the cost of the system to a mere $800 per kilowatt-hour, Jaffe estimates. One interesting note on the Tesla-SolarCity effort is that the two are offering the systems for lease in California, according to SolarCity’s website.
The slick Tesla retails for more than $100,000 partially because of the high prices of Lithium-ion batteries.
Part of that hefty price is the sleek, sports car design and amenities and the power to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds -- an acceleration that ranks among the best-performing gasoline sports cars. We measure battery longevity in cycle lives, or the number of times that you can run it down, charge it up and use it again. As with the safety issue, researchers are looking for a longer-lasting Lithium alternative. Toshiba has also come out with a fast-charging Li-ion battery initially for bicycles and construction vehicles that it eventually wants to test in cars [source: MSNBC]. With so much energy going into Li-ion battery development, there's a strong possibility that they could be fueling our cars in the near future.
Tesla aims to move electricity grid off fossil fuels and move toward renewable energy sources. Available in 10kWh, Powerwall has been designed to backup applications, while the other model is 7kWh, optimized for daily use applications. You can avoid paying higher price for electricity during peak evening hours, with this batteries, you can reduce your power bill because it stores electricity when rates are low and powers your home when rates are high. Design(dot)fr is a place to discover and share web content about design, architecture and decorative art. Tesla Motors partnered with SolarCity to bring a solar powered home battery system to homes across the USA. Below is an excerpt directly from SolarCity’s website detailing the residential home battery energy storage system. SolarCity is making the latest advancements in battery technologies available to you through our partnership with Tesla Motors. Your battery system will provide your home with power if the utility grid goes down—such as after an earthquake or other natural disasters. Tesla’s long history of research and development has enabled a cost-effective, wall-mounted storage appliance that is small, powerful and covered by a long lasting full 10 year warranty.
First comes the large scale commercialization of solar power, and now we have a battery system which provides power in emergencies and as an alternative to running direct from your solar or wind power system.
This new battery system captures the power of the Sun and allowing you to essentially use it as you need it.
All in all, this is the kind of cutting edge technology we need to advance renewable energy and sustainable living.
About Off Grid WorldAll about living off the grid, sustainable living, homesteading, prepping, survival, solar power, wind power, renewable energy, permaculture, hydroponics, recycling, DIY projects, and natural building. Many of those, but not necessarily all of them, would come from Tesla’s planned gigafactory.
That’s a good possibility, but even if it isn’t, it will probably be doing so with many of its installations, and that’s going to have a dramatic, spiraling effect on energy markets worldwide. Think about that, that’s $6,000 across 10 years, $12,000 across 20 year lifetime of a home solar system, to have two-way access to a monopolistic grid. SolarCity, like the Tesla cars are way overpriced system compared to what you can buy out there right now.
How about a $0 down solar loan with tax deductible interest on a system that’s priced at less than $3.20 per watt installed before incentives ?
The SolarCity designer felt the 11,641 kwh was fairly conservative on purpose, since the panels will lose some effectiveness toward the end of the contract. The people I worked with (90% of it was done on the Internet) were all based out of California, except the installers.
They will charge me a flat rate of 16.2 cents per kwh, but during the hours of 9 pm to 6 am, all of my electricity is FREE. Plus, we have so many solar installers on here that despise SolarCity, I thought it best not to rattle the cage any further. I guess the rebates are all gone, but I assume the prices have dropped significant on the installation and the hardware. At the time, the price of SC was so good, that the two local providers were not even in the same ballpark.
I don’t envision the state offering net metering, so I am hoping one day the prices come down enough to make a battery (like the Tesla Powervault) a viable option rather than sending it back to the grid.
I did too, and in my case, SC turned out to be the most expensive, even before I requested US-made modules.
I assumed that most on this website were familiar with the PPA contracts, since we have discussed them often. Data from the US Department of Energy shows that the number of households with rooftop solar energy has increased from 30,000 homes in 2006 to 400,000 in 2013.
The reliance on the sun means that energy is less available when it’s needed most—chiefly during big storms and night-time. According to Musk, the company will start taking orders this year, and select customers have already become the first owners. So releasing the technology for the use of average homeowners is a big deal financially, as well as environmentally in the long term. The Powerpack is customizable based on an individual buyer’s needs and can scale from 500 kWh to 10 Mwh or more.
So could we be heading to a world where all persons are able to make the choice to live sustainably? That’s no secret -- SolarCity advertises its home energy storage system on its company website. Simply put, batteries are too expensive, and the price of power too cheap, to justify the expense. Energy storage could help mitigate the distribution grid voltage sags and surgesthat can occur when clouds pass over neighborhoods with lots of rooftop solar, for example.
In a Friday blog post, he extrapolates from the SGIP rule requiring four hours of discharge at rated capacity, and projects that the two companies’ applications add up to about 2 megawatt-hours of storage capacity. SolarCity bills the system as a way for homeowners to back up their homes in case of power outage, but it’s likely the bigger financial benefit would be to put power back on the grid to manage peak grid power, which could get the utility involved in further subsidies.
Jaffe predicts that the two may be the first to try to do so, which would instantly pay for one-third of the price of the system. Jaffe notes that the two will have to figure out how to cut the price further to create a truly disruptive play in the home energy storage space. Japan’sPanasonic and Hitachi are installing home-based, solar-backed energy storage in pilot projects.
That could open the door to SolarCity managing the batteries en masse, to maximize the value of the energy they’re storing.

Just plug it in overnight, and you can go up to 250 miles (402 kilometers) without stopping by the gas station.
Like the AA batteries that you put into your TV remote control, Li-ion batteries eventually die. With Li-ion batteries, starting from a 100 percent fully-recharged battery will give you a longer individual cycle life, but will reduce the total number of cycles you'll get from it. In June 2008, Toyota also publicized plans to join forces with the company that produces its current hybrid batteries to develop Li-ion batteries by 2009 [source: Kim]. For more information about tomorrow's cars and related information, visit the links on the next page.
Powerwall is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is able to keep energy at a residential level for load shifting, backup power, and self consumption of solar power generation. Utilizing Tesla’s proven battery technology, they have created a residential energy storage system which provides backup power in the event of an emergency. Only SolarCity’s home backup system uses technology engineered by Tesla, leveraging their expertise in developing battery technologies for premium electric vehicles.
SolarCity this year acquired Silevo in order to produce low-cost, high-efficiency solar panels in the US.
Since Musk has an impressive track record of overpricing his target price, I don’t think it is going to happen.
I have to go to someone else to buy (what I get from the grid) and sell (what I produce and do not use) the actual electricity. The Texas installers were SolarCity employees who were putting in two to three systems a day. Any excess energy I produce and do not use will be paid at 7.5 cents per kwh regardless of the amount. I would list lease as the last option, but I guess that depends on your financial situation and whether you are staying long-term. By 2020, they predict that the number will increase to a million—and if solar energy prices continue to decline as they have been in the past decade, that number could increase to as much as four million.
At the same time, there’s often a surplus of energy when it’s not needed, such as during the day when individuals are away at work and don’t need the power in their homes.
Elon Musk thinks so and to prove his point, the whole presentation announcing that Tesla batteries will be hitting the market was itself powered entirely by stored solar energy. It could also help shift stored solar power to cover peak loads that may occur slightly later in the afternoon than solar’s peak production times.
That program offers credits for on-site generation sources like solar power, biogas digesters and fuel cells.
Given those variables, he estimates that the two may be eyeing as much as 10 megawatt-hours of home battery-solar backup systems in California in 2012.
Still, if battery prices continue to fall as IDC predicts (down to $600 per kilowatt-hour in 2012), that could cut the overall system cost further. In the United States, battery startup Xtreme Power is eyeing smaller-scale solar-backed applications to match their big, substation-sized grid batteries, and utility AEP is working with S&C Electric Co.
That sounds a bit like the plan from Stem, the startup formerly known as Powergetics, which has shifted from a straightforward home energy storage play to a cloud-managed, energy optimization technology play that manages home batteries without the customer getting involved. In fact, Li-ion batteries are around four to five times more expensive than nickel-metal-hydrideA­ ones [source: Popely]. For that reason, the Tesla Roadster doesn't allow you to re-charge more than 95 percent of the original power or let it drain down to less than 2 percent [source: Eberhard and Straubel]. One company, Altair Nanotechnologies announced in 2006 that it had found a new material that would far outlast Li-ion batteries and recharge faster for the same price, called lithium titanate [source: Bullis].
Inside this battery, there are Tesla’s lithium-ion battery pack, liquid thermal control system, and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized to provide power for your home when you need it most while paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend cost benefits of solar when sunlight is unavailable.
Powered by the Sun, the solar panel system provides power to your home and the lithium-ion battery pack stores the power for later use. A larger battery system will over course provide you with more power for a longer period of time, so we hope to see some specifications on the battery pack.
And Tesla has started building a battery gigafactory in Nevada that, when completed, is supposed to produce as many lithium-ion batteries in a year as were produced all around the world in 2013.
Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. Solar + home battery pack helps to SOLVE those peak load issues — but it also undercuts Mr. Greed will set it, and they will price it as much as the market can bear, like pricing it so that you can save about $1-$5 a month compared to the grid, and hey, that is a whopping $1,800 over 30 years savings! This wouldn’t be a problem if there were efficient ways to store the energy, which is why many people have been able to sell energy from their household solar panels to utility companies for use on the grid, but even those companies have issues with finding locations for the excess.
Starting in 2009, SGIP started offering credits of $2 per watt for energy storage systems that can store power from an eligible on-site generation system and discharge it at rated capacity for a four-hour period. Since the car-capable packs can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 each, finding a cheaper alternative will be a major hurdle for car companies that want to market them [source: Popely]. Canadian car company Phoenix Motorcars is using lithium titanate batteries in its line of electric cars that have a 100-plus mile range. You can mount this unit on the wall, it is even integrated with local grid to harness any excess power and allow you to draw energy from your own reserve. It provides enough power to keep your refrigerator running, it allows you to keep the lights on, and charge your cell phone in case you need to make an emergency call while also keeping any necessary security systems powered and fully operational.
Utilities’ un-American, anti-free-market, anti-consumer-choice dinosaur model of business. General Electric just inked a partnership to integrate its nickel-saltDurathon batteries with Arista Power’s power balancing system to back up solar and wind power. It's like trying to fill up a pitcher of water that has a tiny hole that grows bigger and bigger with each use. Do you know that US electric power sector produces more than 2,000 million metric tons of CO2 that is like burning 225 billion gallons of gas? This home battery charges your home using electricity generated from solar panels, just in case your home experiences power outages, this battery can provide you with a backup electricity supply.
Be interesting to see if SolarCity does follow through and takes SRP to court — as it should! Then add in an ERCOT rebate ($3,000), an Oncor rebate ($2,500), and the federal tax credit (30%), which all reduces SolarCity’s cost.

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