Batteries SolarCity Tesla energy storage

Published on September 22nd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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Every SolarCity Customer Will Get Battery Backup Within 5-10 Years

September 22nd, 2014 by  

Planetsave.

At a private shindig in little town called New York City last week, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and Chairman Elon Musk (Lyndon’s cousin and also the CEO, Chief Product Architect, and Chairman of Tesla Motors) made a few casual but potentially world-changing announcements, as is practically a habit with Elon.

Most notably, they stated that SolarCity would be including battery backup systems with every single one of its rooftop solar power systems within 5-10 years. Many of those, but not necessarily all of them, would come from Tesla’s planned gigafactory.

Even with the battery backups, Lyndon and Elon contend that a SolarCity installation will cost less than the price of electricity from the grid! (Them are some fightin’ words, someone once said.)

SolarCity Tesla energy storage


 

Solar panel costs and battery costs have been coming down fast in the past several years, and that cost reduction is projected to continue. Furthermore, SolarCity and Tesla aim to be in the center of it. SolarCity this year acquired Silevo in order to produce low-cost, high-efficiency solar panels in the US. And Tesla has started building a battery gigafactory in Nevada that, when completed, is supposed to produce as many lithium-ion batteries in a year as were produced all around the world in 2013. With economies of scale, costs should drop tremendously.

Will SolarCity really be delivering battery backup systems with all of its solar rooftops for a combined price that is lower than grid electricity in just 5-10 years? That’s a good possibility, but even if it isn’t, it will probably be doing so with many of its installations, and that’s going to have a dramatic, spiraling effect on energy markets worldwide. Exciting times.

For some background on this SolarCity/Tesla battery partnership, here are some good links:

Tesla’s Power Play

Discussion on Tesla Motors Forum

If Tesla Is The New Black, This Solar/Battery Package Will Prove It

Image Credit: Tesla Motors forum member myI55

Source: Planetsave. Reprinted with permission.

 
 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: ZacharyShahan.com, .



  • neroden

    “Even with the battery backups, Lyndon and Elon contend that a SolarCity
    installation will cost less than the price of electricity from the grid!”

    Doesn’t this depend on where your grid is?

    In Hawaii and Alaska with sky-high grid electricity prices, it’s absolutely trivial to beat the grid prices. In southern California, with very high electricity prices, it’s still easy. In Illinois, with dirt-cheap grid prices, it’s rather hard.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Electricity will not stay dirt-cheap in many of the places which now enjoy low prices. Those places with low rates due to paid off thermal plants will see their rates rise as thermal plants close.

      Some coal plants will close due to emission problems. Others will simply age out and need replacement. Luckily for those areas they will have the lower price option of renewables rather than having to take a larger hit caused by new thermal plants.

      The exception will be areas with large hydro inputs.

  • And then we have ass-backwards, money-grubbing utilities like SRP in Arizona, where they just slapped a $600 per year charge on rooftop solar homeowners. Think about that, that’s $6,000 across 10 years, $12,000 across 20 year lifetime of a home solar system, to have two-way access to a monopolistic grid. The utilities are going to fight solar + batteries too, even though it’s totally hypocritical to do so, as, allegedly in the SRP case, it’s peak load issues that “justify” their outrageous charge. Solar + home battery pack helps to SOLVE those peak load issues — but it also undercuts Mr. Utilities’ un-American, anti-free-market, anti-consumer-choice dinosaur model of business. Be interesting to see if SolarCity does follow through and takes SRP to court — as it should!

  • John

    Will you be able to get a back up battery installed to your system all ready in place? Or will it just be for newer systems?

    • Mark Bravard

      all sc will have back up battery installed to your system . in 5 too 10 years too sc. their just waiting for the giga factory be built.

  • Joseph Dubeau

    5 to 10 years is long time from now. Sure anything is possible.

  • skeptical

    A complete electrical home (+ heating) say uses 10 Mwh a year. Current Li-ion energy density is 0,2 kwh/kg. Thats 50 tonnes of battery needed…

    • Patrick Linsley

      Citation needed.

    • GCO

      Why would you want to store a 1-year supply? In case both the grid and the sun disappears all that time?

      For minimal backup, and riding over TOU peaks, a few hours to a day would be plenty; ~100 kg or less.

    • jeffhre

      LOL, 10 MWh a year with 50 tons of cells per home? Now I’m the skeptical one!

    • No way

      I wouldn’t want to go shopping with you. Do you buy everything in yearly bulks? Or even more so since your system is way bigger than you could or would use in a year.
      I imagine you have a a few thousand liters of petrol at home too. And an actual metric ton of toilet paper.:)

  • Marion Meads

    ONLY IF Musk will not overprice its system. SolarCity, like the Tesla cars are way overpriced system compared to what you can buy out there right now. Since Musk has an impressive track record of overpricing his target price, I don’t think it is going to happen. Greed will set it, and they will price it as much as the market can bear, like pricing it so that you can save about $1-$5 a month compared to the grid, and hey, that is a whopping $1,800 over 30 years savings!

    • Steven F

      “ONLY IF Musk will not overprice its system. SolarCity, like the Tesla cars are way overpriced system compared to what you can buy out there right now.”

      What all electric cars out there that can do 0-60 in 4 second and can go 200 miles on a single charge and yet cost less then Tesla? There isn’t one. most EVs halve half to 1/3 the range and cost half to 1/3 the cost. The size of the battery determines the range. and is a major determining factor in the price of the car. Furthermore no one else has set up a netwark of recharging stations that are free to use and allow a Tesla owner go coast to coast without paying a dime.

      Tesla expects their Model E to cost much less than the model S

      http://www.businessinsider.com/electric-car-comparison-chart-2013-8

      “Will buy their batteries or panels if they get competitive enough one of these days”

      Many of solar city customers paying $0 down and saving money immediately. they have no shortage of people willing to sign up for the solar leas plans they offer. Or if you want you can just by the solar system. What would be more competative than a $0 money down?

      • ronwint

        “Many of solar city customers paying $0 down and saving money immediately.” Money ? You mean a measly 10% to 15% on their electric bill ? Because, that’s all the leasing companies advertise on their websites.

        “they have no shortage of people willing to sign up for the solar leas plans they offer.” Now that $0 down FHA solar loans and $0 down PACE financing is penetrating the market, we’ll see how SCs market share is doing during their next financials update.

        What would be more competitive than a $0 money down? How about a $0 down solar loan with tax deductible interest on a system that’s priced at less than $3.20 per watt installed before incentives ?

        SolarCity can’t touch that price.

        • JimBouton

          Ron, so you are saying that a fair price in today’s market is $3.20 x 8330 watts (my system) = $26,656?

          Explain to me how that is a better deal than $9,800 (paid upfront) for the same system for 20 years? That is $1.18 per watt.

          I have another data point for you. My neighbor signed a PPA with SolarCity three months ago for a 40 panel 9.8 kw system. He is making monthly payments of $75 for 20 years. No money down. Overall payout will be $18,000. There were no incentives from Oncor when he signed.

          That is $1.84 per watt, but would be lower if you calculated in the value of later payments rather than upfront money.

          Are you sure you want to stick with this argument?

          • MarTams

            You are lying. For starters, Solar City’s electric rates are escalating.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Them’s strong words, partner. We ain’t wantin’ no gunfire in these parts…

            Suppose you tell us what, in your opinion, Jim has posted that you feel incorrect.

            And give us some data on SC’s price increases.

          • JimBouton

            I could not attach a screen shot of my SolarCity contract, but I have Zachary’s email and will forward him the pdf file along with the design.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So you locked in electricity at 4.6 cents per kWh for 20 years? Am I reading that right?

            That needs to be adjusted a bit for loss of investment value, but being a fairly safe investment with a fixed rate of return one would need to use rates for quality bonds for a comparison, so the numbers wouldn’t change a lot.

          • JimBouton

            Bob, the 11,641 kwh per year is what is minimally guaranteed, otherwise they need to pay me (at the rate of 4.6 cents per kwh for any shortfall – on a yearly basis) for any underperformance.

            My first year will hit in three days and my system has produced 13,100 kwh, so I am actually running 25% higher than what was guaranteed. The SolarCity designer felt the 11,641 kwh was fairly conservative on purpose, since the panels will lose some effectiveness toward the end of the contract.

            Based on the fact that I actually spent $9,800 for this PPA and that the system has produced 13,100 kwh, then the actual cost for electricity for the first year comes in at 3.7 cents per kwh. ($490 for year one / 13,100 kwh)

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about writing up your experience and let Zach publish it as an article?

            If this is a typical SolarCity deal I can see why people are signing up.

            Include what you would have paid had you stayed on the utility teat.

          • JimBouton

            Sure, I have Zach’s email and will contact him. Thanks, Bob.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Great. I really haven’t paid too much attention to the SolarCity PPA system/approach.

            Seems like it boils down to they will sell you a large block of electricity over the next X years for a fixed price along with permission to put their panels on your roof. And you get paid something for any power over the purchased amount that might be generated. Is that how it works?

            Then, how is SolarCity making the money that allows them to sell you electricity for 3.7c/kWh? They’re selling midday power for higher prices and buying back cheap power to furnish you off peak?

            I’d love to read a good explanation of how it all works and your personal experience to date.

          • JimBouton

            SolarCity has nothing to do with the actual buying and selling of electricity. The only contract I have with them is how much energy my system produces. I have to go to someone else to buy (what I get from the grid) and sell (what I produce and do not use) the actual electricity.

            I believe the reason that SolarCity is able to offer such a low price is simple efficiency. The people I worked with (90% of it was done on the Internet) were all based out of California, except the installers. The Texas installers were SolarCity employees who were putting in two to three systems a day. I’m sure SC received volume discounts on their panels and inverters. Electricians were not employees, but contracted out. Most installations take a half day. Six hours of labor, three employees, one electrician, 34 panels, two inverters. $10,000. Then add in an ERCOT rebate ($3,000), an Oncor rebate ($2,500), and the federal tax credit (30%), which all reduces SolarCity’s cost.

            My arrangement for the actual electricity will soon be with TXU Energy, a retail electricity provider. They will charge me a flat rate of 16.2 cents per kwh, but during the hours of 9 pm to 6 am, all of my electricity is FREE. Any excess energy I produce and do not use will be paid at 7.5 cents per kwh regardless of the amount. (That is based on the price of natural gas at the moment in Texas.)

          • Otis11

            Looking forward to reading that article… Where in Texas?

            I’m looking at systems East of Dallas and getting good results, but not THAT good…

          • JimBouton

            I never wrote the article simply because I posted so much about this in the comment section. Plus, we have so many solar installers on here that despise SolarCity, I thought it best not to rattle the cage any further.

            I’m located near Dallas, plus I have now paid off more than a third of my system after a little bit more than two years. My provider is Green Mountain Energy. I chose the month by month for the best rate of 10.8 cents per kwh. They pay me back the excess energy I produce at the same rate of 10.8 cents. A good company to work with.

            I would be interested in hearing what rates you are getting these days from the big boys (SC) and also the local providers. I guess the rebates are all gone, but I assume the prices have dropped significant on the installation and the hardware. Good luck!

          • Otis11

            Ah… would have loved to read an article on it. Particularly related to finding the best deal. It’s taken quite a bit of work and I’m still looking as I think I can do better. (I was definitely not impressed with SC’s bid. They artificially inflated the cash price way out of the market, though their PPA bid if paid cash-up-front was semi-competitive.)

            The best engineered system so far was quoted by Sunpower. The most economical bids were posted by Longhorn Solar and a different Sunpower bid – which wasn’t quite as robust (They sent 3 proposals when we requested a quote).

            Any suggestions for good places to look for additional bids? The Longhorn solar is the lowest, but I’m not really a fan of their system design. It’s adequate, but has some drawbacks. The lowest one from Sunpower is likely my best option right now, but while it is economical, it’s payback is lower than I would like so still debating whether to pull the trigger…

            (I can dive into number later when I have time to pull out the paperwork if you’d like.)

          • JimBouton

            I actually had to do very little work on the part you are going through. At the time, the price of SC was so good, that the two local providers were not even in the same ballpark.

            You might really want to do some homework on electricity providers. Based on my research for Texas, Green Mountain is the best deal. A new company that offers a competitive buyback is MP2. TXU is a rip off in my opinion. They hide their transmission costs in their rate, plus have long term contracts and hidden monthly charges. Plus, they mainly have old coal power plants with some nuclear.

            I don’t know much about Sunpower or Longhorn Solar. However, I prefer PPA over ownership for a few reasons I have documented in other posts. I would list lease as the last option, but I guess that depends on your financial situation and whether you are staying long-term. I was lucky, I had the cash to pay everything up front and be done with it.

            One concern I have in the future is whether the four of five companies offering electricity generation buybacks will continue in the future. I don’t envision the state offering net metering, so I am hoping one day the prices come down enough to make a battery (like the Tesla Powervault) a viable option rather than sending it back to the grid.

            I would be interested in seeing what these companies are offering to you. If you don’t mind posting your numbers, especially SC. I am curious how much negotiating they are doing on their rates. I wonder if they are willing to counter knowing they are coming in at a higher rate.

          • JimBouton

            What do you think I am lying about?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m also waiting to hear.

    • JimBouton

      Sorry Marion, but the PPA that SolarCity offers provides a full payback in less than six years (and that is in Texas, where we really have no feed in tariff.)

      As I have stated on Cleantechnica before, I bought a 8.33 kw system (20 year PPA) for $9,800. Show me where you can buy that type of system for under $10,000.

      • GCO

        You did not buy the system, you prepaid for 20 years of the power it generates.
        Also, it sounds like you have net metering, which in effect is a feed-in tariff at the full retail rate.

        Typically, payback on PPAs is faster (potentially instant if paying monthly with zero down) while long-term savings potential is lower => http://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/18/solar-lease-solar-ownership-ultimate-solar-calculator-app/

        It basically boils down to how much more one is ok paying for 25~30 years of free juice plus retaining ownership of the roof, vs ~14 years.

        Surely you’ve got quotes from other installers at the time. I did too, and in my case, SC turned out to be the most expensive, even before I requested US-made modules.

        • JimBouton

          GCO, you are correct that I prepaid for the power. I assumed that most on this website were familiar with the PPA contracts, since we have discussed them often. Excuse me for not be literal in my description of my contract.

          Texas does not offer net metering. There are two companies out there offering electricity buybacks. One is TXU and the other is Reliant. Reliant’s plan ($0.12 per kwh) goes month to month, excess energy is paid based on the price of natural gas. That is about $0.065 per kwh.

          TXU (the one I am now starting with) has a plan that offers nights free (9 pm to 6 am) and a price of $0.162 per kwh the rest of the time. They pay me $0.075 per kwh for my excess generation.

          Texas does not require any reimbursement of my excess power. At some point, it is possible I would get nothing from them. At that point, I would hope a battery is available from SC for my system.

          I would not agree that long term savings are better for traditional systems based on my own pricing of systems one year ago. Your experience might have been different. I have documented everything on my system. You have done none, so I cannot assume which is better in your case.

      • ronwint

        With all do respect. JimBouton’s comment is the perfect example of how people simply don’t understand what they’re agreeing to when they sign these 20 year solar lease and PPA contracts.

        You didn’t buy anything. The system that’s on your roof is the property of the PPA company and always will be until the day that you “buy” the system from them. All you’re doing is renting it. And $9,800 is a lot of money to pay when you consider that you could have “bought” the same sized system for a lot less money after applying the 30% federal tax credit and the cash rebate that was available in Texas.

        Unfortunately, not only do you not own the system, you can’t even modify it, meaning that if you ever wanted to AC couple an offgrid inverter to it to protect your family against power outage, your out of luck.

        And as for your statement “Show me where you can buy that type of system for under $10,000.” Like before. You’re failing to mention the date that you signed your PPA contract

        If I remember correctly from your last post, there was a huge cash rebate available in Texas at the time that you signed your PPA contract. Combine that Cash rebate with the 30% federal tax credit and you could have easily purchased and “really owned” a 8.33 kW system for less than $10,000 at the time.

        Which would mean that you would own an asset that would have increased your property value instead of a liability that many people have reported has interfered with heir home sale.

        • JimBouton

          Ron, I understand perfectly the PPA. I am fairly sure that you do not.

          At the time, I was comparing SolarCity with direct purchase offers by two local dealers. One was Axium Solar that offered a price of $16,635 for a 2.5 kw system. When you factor in the 30% Federal Income Tax Credit to me ($2,935) and the Oncor Solar Program to Axium ($2,822), then the net price to me was $9,785. Again, this was a 2.5 kw system.

          The proposed system was smaller than the SolarCity offer by a whopping 5.83 kw delta (8.33 kw – 2.5 kw = 5.83 kw). It would have been at least double ($25,000) for a 7.5 kw system even with tax incentives.

          I would have also had to deal with providing my own monitoring system (free, but legwork), and deal with maintenance on the system. Axium offered a 25 year warranty on the panels (defects or below 20% degradation) and 10 years on the inverter. It certainly was not what SolarCity was offering, such as replacement coverage for anything that happens during the 20 year period. If a hail storm occurs, then it is SolarCity that has to deal with it. With Axium, it would have been me using insurance. Lastly, I was expected to do all of the paperwork for the system. SolarCity handled everything.

          You are incorrect when you say that I am not buying anything. I am buying the power. The output is guaranteed for 20 years. You are also incorrect when you say that I am renting the equipment. I am not renting anything. That equipment belongs entirely to SolarCity. They just happen to have panels on my house.

          I signed this contract back in July 2013. There was not “huge” cash rebate at the time or either offer. (You seem to be “hearing” stuff that you want to hear rather than “asking.”)

          Why would I care to modify a system that is producing in excess of 500 kwh every month? The only addition I see would be to add in a battery which will likely be an option provided by SolarCity.

          Lastly, I have no idea why you think this would be a liability. I paid the contract in full. A new home owner would have the power contract for the remaining years that are left, and then SolarCity would remove the panels after 20 years. Or, SolarCity would offer the home buyer a pretty sweet deal (such as keep them for free), since they probably don’t want to go through the expense of removing 20 year old panels in 2033.

          Worse case, I can have SolarCity remove the gear tomorrow and rip up the contract if the home owner did not want any equipment. SolarCity would be happy to do so, I asked.

          Meanwhile, if I would have “bought” them, then I likely am giving a headache to the new owner who has to manage this depreciating asset and be responsible for their removal (think electricians and roof top workers), plus any damage caused with their removal.

          Any questions?

          • Juan-Manuel Renteria

            What happens if/when Solar City goes belly up… Say in year 2017?

          • JimBouton

            Juan-Manuel, interestingly enough, I am dealing with that exact question as we speak. Well, almost exact.

            When I am not getting power from my solar panels, then a company in Texas named Luminant provides my energy with mostly coal power plants (the dirtiest in Texas) and a nuclear power plant in central east Texas. Luminant filed for bankruptcy earlier this year along with their retail energy provider, TXU Energy. Both of these companies are held by EFH (the parent company.) EFH defaulted on one of their interest payments. Luminant bet that natural gas prices would go up and they lost.

            They didn’t just guess wrong, instead they lost the farm. They are trying to shave over $40 billion in debt during this restructure. A lot of this debt was created by a “takeover” about a decade ago. It made a lot of people rich, but the company was destined to die under the weight of the debt.

            SolarCity has a very reasonable debt structure (and low interest bonds) along with growth potential, heavy inside ownership of the stock, and an innovative marketing approach. I don’t know where you derived they would be in trouble (by 2017 no less), but I don’t see any reason to think it is going in a wrong direction.

            Naturally a company that chooses bankruptcy would go through a reorganization and if SolarCity did file, then I really doubt they would forfeit contracts when the equipment is less expensive than the cost of removing them and repaying the remaining portion of the contract. It is not like the solar panels will stop producing energy.

            There is no doubt that SolarCity has some risks. The Silevo acquisition is certainly one of them. But, considering the number of government projects (military), their positioning to place panels on new homes, and alignment with the Tesla gigafactory, they likely have a very promising future.

          • Juan-Manuel Renteria

            To think i used to work for SC and lost my options (2500) at the time, just kills me. I have no doubt in their positive trajectory. Thanks!

          • DBen

            Just ran across this post. I’m surprised at your quote from Axium. I had them install a 7.5 kw system in July of 2013. After Oncor rebate and Tax Credit, my net price went from $26.6k down to $11.9K; you must have had some unusual extenuating circumstances.

          • JimBouton

            From the rep Andrew Whitehead on 5/24/13:

            Turn-Key System Price Detail
            2.5 kW Solar PV System
            Sell Price $12,607.92

            Incentives Received by Installer
            Estimated Oncor Solar PV Program – Residential $2,822.50

            Incentives received by Customer
            30% Federal Investment Tax Credit $2,935.63

            Total Incentives:
            (In year of installation) $2,935.63

            TOTAL System Investment:
            (After estimated ITC and Utility Rebate) $6,849.79 ($2.74 per dc watt)

            Total Due Axium Solar $9,785.42 ($3.91 per dc watt)

            Their cost for a 2.5 kw system was equivalent to SC’s charge for the PPA of a 8.33 kw system.

            I will also add that I would not have been able to take advantage of the tax credit due to my income levels.

  • Kyle Field

    The turning point for home battery installations (paired with solar or not) will be the when they make financial sense. Solar turned this corner in the last few years with panel price reductions (and hopefully with additional reductions coming related to reductions in service charges). I expect this same shift to occur in batteries – largely riding the coat tails of the EV auto industry, led by (as noted) Tesla and the gigafactory.

    Kinda makes me wonder what the other auto manufacturers are thinking…where they plan to get their EV batteries, etc.

    • No way

      Auto manufacturers order batteries and make long term deals with battery manufacturers who make sure they have enough capacity to forfill their orders.
      It’s not that hard. 🙂 And it’s not hard to increase capacity at battery factories and to build new factories when needed.

      • jeffhre

        Maybe. When Tesla was sourcing batteries to build it’s Roadster, they couldn’t get the big battery distributors to talk to them, and the manufactures wouldn’t bother to return their phone calls.

        Nissan makes batteries in a plant in Tennessee. It may not be hard to make more batteries in an expanded plant. Though to produce batteries in EV quantities and qualities, at a price that competes with producers internationally – is likely one of the most difficult industrial challenges ever undertaken.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Nissan is apparently undergoing some shakeup in battery supply. They are saying that they are going to start sourcing their batteries from LG Chem. I think it has something to do with going after a better technology and lower cost than what they’ve developed in house.

          They’ve stated that they are planning on keeping the Tennessee plant in operation.

          • Joseph Dubeau

            Well, Nissan still makes their own batteries.
            “Parman said Nissan has no plans to “impair” its battery investments in the US or Britain. ”

            To clear to everyone as of today, Tesla does not make batteries but buys them from Panasonic. SolarCity does not make solar panels and Silevo is a start up. Add it up all together, the SolarCity/Tesla battery partnership is nothing more than vaporware.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tesla is constructing a monster battery factory in partnership with Panasonic. Panasonic has been making batteries for a long time.

            SolarCity now owns a solar panel manufacturing company. Silevo is manufacturing panels and companies are selling them.

            It’s a bit hard to see how a SolarCity Tesla battery partnership would be vaporware.

          • Joseph Dubeau

            “Vaporware is often announced months or years before its purported release, with development details lacking. Usage of the word has broadened to products such as automobiles. At times, vendors are criticized for intentionally producing vaporware in order to keep customers from switching to competitive products that offer more features.”

          • Bob_Wallace

            My understanding of vaporware is something announced which doesn’t actually exist.

            The batteries are real. The panels are real.

            The plan is to expand large. That is not guaranteed, it could fail. But with the basic products already on the market it’s hard to see this as vaporware.

          • Joseph Dubeau

            I’m a programmer. It means I not even close to beta release.
            It’s does not mean I haven’t started working on it or I can’t show you a user screens.

          • jeffhre

            They have ten years to follow through, calling it vaporware ten years before deadline to launch is a bit strange!

            Confused about how “SolarCity does not make solar panels and Silevo is a start up” could be related to this at all. SolarCity installs solar panels in 15 states…

          • onesecond

            As far as I know, Panasonic delivers the cells and Tesla makes the batteries.

          • Joseph Dubeau

            Nissan Japanese engineers only need 18 months to catch to LG Chen anode. In 18 months, their will be able to match LB cost target of $200/kWh.
            Here is the Reuters source.
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/15/us-renault-sa-nissan-batteries-exclusive-idUSKBN0HA0CA20140915

          • Bob_Wallace

            GM is apparently going to use LG Chem batteries and talking about a 200 mile range EV in 2016.

            With both GM and Nissan getting into bed with LG Chem I’d guess that there’s a well-proven battery that’s now being put into production.

            Whether they have something better than Tesla/Panasonic I suppose we’ll have to wait to see.

            Interesting times….

          • Joseph Dubeau

            Yes, and Audi, VW, and two other Chinese EV makers.

        • Steven F

          The Roadster used 18650 form-factor batteries which were made by many companies. With Teslas small volume of battery orders at the time there was no need for an exclusive battery vendor. Today Panasonic is Teslas exclusive vendor. and Panasonic is working with Tesla on the Giga factory.

          • jeffhre

            The 18650 form factor is slowly phasing out, except at Tesla. It was chosen because it was a commodity battery, sold worldwide with low prices driven by mass use in consumer electronics. Tesla couldn’t afford a battery custom formed for EV use.

            Today, it cannot be used in slim phones, tablets, eReaders or netbooks. And is found less and less in notebooks, as they become slimmer as well. It is beginning to look as though this form factor will soon be a custom item for vehicles and drive trains developed by Tesla.

          • Tesla is looking to use an even larger form factor for the batteries they produce in the future to reduce materials cost. The production of 18650 form factor batteries may indeed decline rapidly over the next 5 years.

          • jeffhre

            “With Teslas small volume of battery orders at the time there was no need for an exclusive battery vendor.”

            Tesla would have loved to have had the opportunity to fine tune the batteries to their own unique needs. They simply did not have the volume or track record to convince any manufactures to do so for the Roadster.

            Tesla’s needs recently have been so vast, that they have not only added Tesla only custom features to Panasonic batteries, but the volume and profit levels have helped to turn around the fortunes of the entire Panasonic operation.

        • No way

          True. But then they were a barely existing company with no experience and all odds against them.
          It’s very different for the big car companies, which are and will be the big players in the automotive and EV business.
          If BMW calls and says that they are looking at a 10 year deal with batteries for a few million cars then they will not only return the calls but send a full delegation of people to make sure that deal happens. 🙂

          Any startup or small company will always struggle since they are often more risk than gain for suppliers.

          Tesla are still far from being a large car manufacturer but I’m sure the response would be very different today if they called a battery company looking for more batteries.

    • philofthefuture

      Many companies have already partnered with Tesla to provide drive trains, including battery packs. No doubt Musk would be all too willing to continue to sell batteries to all comers.

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    • GCO

      Solar makes financial sense now in good part because of high feed-in tariffs, especially net metering. The same reason however makes batteries hard to justify.

      Also, I don’t think new automotive batteries would be well-suited for stationary use; no point paying a premium for high energy density. Used ones look more adequate, but it might take another decade or so for them to become available in volume.

      • jeffhre

        “Solar makes financial sense now in good part because of high” electricity pricing during peak hours which often occur while the sun is shining. This happy coincidence allows Feed-in-tariffs and net metering to be financially advantageous for grid operators and PV array owners. Not so good for owners of conventional generating assets that depended on high marginal costs during peak hours to profit.

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