As Microgrid Media broke the news of of Tesla’s offer to buy SolarCity, the usual TESLA haters were out in full force. However, TESLA and SolarCity are both ultimately battery companies, and the merger creates more synergies as the surface is scratched.
The future of solar energy and the future of electric vehicles rely on cheap, safe, sustainable battery production. That is the reason for TESLA’s Gigafactory becoming such a large part of its business. TESLA has decided to transform the economics of battery production and the impacts are far greater than EVs. In fact, Elon Musk recently disclosed he thinks he can sell batteries faster than electric vehicles, an astonishing claim for a car company.
As electric utilities become increasingly hostile to solar energy, the ability of solar customers to self-consume all self-generated energy becomes essential. Each additional KW of solar PV connected to the grid becomes less valuable, and the only way for the solar industry to continue to grow is distributed batteries in homes, businesses, and anywhere electricity is generated or consumed. If TESLA can meet their battery targets, there is no limitation to solar deployment, which is otherwise limited due to daily generation cycles.
TESLA and SolarCity have long collaborated on solar + storage projects, including the world’s first solar-storage power purchase agreement (SSPPA). Elon Musk’s business plan is flexible and broad. There is no doubt that he sees the development of electric vehicles, solar energy, and batteries as a nexus. If one part fails, so goes the others.