Solar City and Tesla take the Kinks out of solar power with plenty of PowerPacks
Hawaii gets most of its electricity from burning diesel fuel, an expensive and polluting proposition. But it has lots of sun that can generate power during the daytime, and now Tesla is installing the batteries needed to power it at night.
Solar City, now owned by Tesla, installed 13 megawatts of solar panels and Tesla installed 52 megawatt-hours of Powerpack batteries, enough power to supply 4500 homes day and night, for the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. It is enough juice to reduce the need for 1.6 million gallons of diesel fuel each year. Tesla and Solar city installed the package under a 20 year fixed price contract costing the utility 13.9 cents per KWh, slightly less than the cost of diesel-powered electricity.
According to Darell Etherington in TechCrunch,
The Kauai facility is meant to show what Tesla can offer for higher-demand commercial projects, and it’s a stake in the ground that’s designed to pique the interest of energy providers the world over – not just those perfectly situated to make the most of available sunlight, according to [CTO] Straubel.
“It’s immediately a cost benefit,” Straubel said. “And that’s true in many places around the world, it’s not just true on islands like this in Hawaii. It’s not intuitive; most people, they think this is more expensive still today, but the cost of solar and the cost of storage has come down so quickly that these projects now are cost-effective in many locations.”
Last summer, when Tesla was planning to buy Solar City, Derek wrote about all the Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers who were against the idea. (Oh, and the EV Eeyores too) However this installation, and the recent one in California that we wrote about in Tesla kills the duck with big batteries may well silence the skeptics because the evidence is right there in living colour, in dollars and cents: Solar power that runs all night, that’s cheaper than diesel.
Soon it may well be cheaper than any other fossil fuel because at least for now, the sun is still free.