(Left) SolarCity & Tesla's overall concept drawing (Right) The Tesla battery storage controls (via SolarCity)
In the transition to sustainable lifestyles, a big hurdle is staying "green" when renewable energy is not available. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla other companies like PayPal and Space X is teaming up with his successful cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive who are co-founders of SolarCity in tackling the problem of battery energy storage systems primarily for solar-roof panels.
After a few years of research, the team has concluded that the most doable configuration is a systems made up of stacks of thin lithium laptop-like batteries. The main source for batteries will be Panasonic, but other Asia based companies are on the short-list for back-up sources. The project is exciting because it plans to make use of funds from the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) and Federal programs offering incentives for distributed energy generation to further drive the price for these systems low enough for wide consumer consideration.
Tesla and SolarCity have submitted 70 applications for funds from the CPUC’s Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and funds offered by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Director of Communications for SolarCity, Jonathan Bass, says that there are many different projects with different applications. The applications have received a “conditional reservation” from the SGIP which means the companies will receive the funds once the systems are completed and operational.
The projects have 18 month to be completed and operational. It is suspected that most will be done earlier. The cousins should have little trouble in producing some of these projects to the consumer shortly after.