Solar Empire

Solar Empire

A Story by stmford06

ambitions of Elon Musk

Solar Empire
Battery maker Panasonic has partnered with auto manufacturer Tesla to build the largest lithium-ion battery factory in the world; it will produce enough batteries to double current world production of all types of batteries. With the use of renewable electricity from sources like wind and solar combined with a very large battery bank power companies have been able pump continuous power into the grid using battery storage alone. A battery bank of this scale has the potential to discharge a full gigawatt of electricity for four to six hours, similar to what a typical coal fired power station can provide. They can also be used to smooth out flows of electricity to prevent brownouts and power surges. This puts solar in direct competition with electricity from coal since it’s largely been used to provide power during the day and night when usage increases.
Tesla is owned by Elon Musk, who owns SpaceX, and Solar City who are the largest installer of residential and commercial grid-tied solar power systems. When the factory is complete Musk plans to build charging station parking lots and to lease his cars to the American consumer. You will be able to charge your electric car while it’s parked in the shade of the solar panels. At night the batteries draw power from massive battery banks. He will have an advantage over the power companies because his company will have thousands of generation sites across the country and be able to provide large amounts of electricity to the grid over extended periods and its basically free, since after construction costs there is little investment in maintaining a solar battery bank, when something breaks or fails you replace it. Once Tesla rolls out their newest models priced with the Chevy Volt, they will then offer to install solar panels to charge your car, and give you a thirty percent discount on electricity through Solar City with no installation or material cost because Solar City owns the solar equipment. They lease your roof in exchange for electricity. 
If every person in the country could install a solar grid-tie unit on their home, we could take the idea of grid power out of the equation; utilities would only be able to charge delivery fees. On the horizon we face a possibility of nearly free electricity. Is it possible the use of renewable power and natural gas can drive coal out of mainstream energy production?
Corporations including Google, Apple, AT&T, and Microsoft have all entered the energy market as the price of solar panels have steadily fallen and the demand for charging stations has increased for all types of devices. Battery prices will soon decline as more are produced. 
Solar City however gets a lot of customers due to the fact that you can currently write off a grid tie kit on your tax return, but it expires in 2016. Many believe that this will be allowed to expire due to continuous budget cuts. This will have a large impact on consumers who can recoup up to half of the $1500 credit. The electric car rebate is also set to expire, which would throw a huge wrench in Musks plan.

© 2014 stmford06

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Added on June 26, 2014
Last Updated on June 26, 2014
Tags: elon musk, solar, solar panels, off grid, grid tied, sustainability, sun, electric cars, free energy