- SolarCity now offers a new solar-plus-storage product as part of its Homebuilder Program aimed at new build properties. In California, the package — which includes a Tesla Powerwall storage system — is available at no upfront cost to the homebuyer or builder and locks in a 20-year, lowest tier electricity rate.
- The battery storage part of SolarCity’s offering will include an advanced hybrid inverter, monitoring and control systems and a warranty and service agreement.
- The hybrid solar plus storage system is at present only commercially viable as backup power for new homeowners but SolarCity says it will in the future further reduce homeowners’ electricity bills by acting as a time-of-use and grid response tool.
Tesla Motors sent the electric sector into a tizzy on May 1 with the annoucement of two new batteries — one for residential use and another scalable option for commercial, industrial, and utility storage facilities. While it attracted a lot of attention, some utilites are still cool on the technology.
“The Tesla 7 kWh battery costs $7,000 installed and is meant to be cycled daily,” Tucson Electric Power’s Carmine Tilghman recently told Utility Dive. "At the average all-in electricity rate of $0.12 per kWh, the buyer saves $0.84 per day. And $7,000 divided by $0.84 per day means it will take 8,333 days or about 22.9 years to get the initial investment back for a battery that comes with a ten year warranty.”
But as the costs continue to drop for both solar and storage technologies, the solar industry says packages like the one being made available for new properties in this offering will become more commonplace.
In the future, Tesla CEO and SolarCity Chair Elon Musk has said, such integrated systems will make it possible for consumers to store energy generated during the day and use it to power their households when electricity demand is high. While Tesla had been offering the battery as a standalone product only, the new solar-plus-storage package points to a new step in integrating the two technologies.