Those living in Hawaii that are interested in going off-grid will soon have a new option for doing so available to them via SolarCity, based on a recent press release.
According to that release, the company will begin offering off-grid solar energy + battery systems to eligible customers in the Hawaiian Islands starting in 2016. The battery system in this bundle will of course be sister company Tesla’s new system.
This is despite the preference that SolarCity seems to have for grid-connected solar systems (over off-grid systems) — and is, reportedly, a response to the long delays currently reported to be associated with going solar (via the utility connected route) in Hawaii.
Which makes sense — not many people who want to go solar are going to wait over a year to do so simply because a utility company is dragging its feet on the matter and making them go through hoops — they’ll simply go off-grid, ensuring that their interactions with said utility companies are limited (which I’ve heard from many people is one of the main advantages of going off-grid).
As CleanTechnica reader and battery expert eveee noted earlier today, “The SolarCity statement on Hawaii is a clear shot across the bow to HECO that they are not going to lose any customers due to HECOs ban on new solar grid ties. SolarCity says, ‘Sure customers, we will give you off-grid power for the same price as grid.’ ”
Basically, this statement seemed like a big warning call to utilities trying to add solar taxes or fees, or delay or block solar connections. If utilities are keen on making on-grid solar more expensive or not possible, they’re going to more quickly push people off the grid, and the products for that just got a lot more competitive.
So, anyways, those living in Hawaii next year who want to go off-grid will have access to a higher-end solar + battery system coming via SolarCity + Tesla — it’s hard to say whether the combo will be worth it for many people (with regard to costs), but it sure looks better than the competition.
SolarCity and Tesla seem to have carved out a fair amount of respectability and customer interest over the last few years — the brand names on their own seem to be able to garner notable interest at this point. So, I think the product will do very well.
A final note here: with expected declines in manufacturing costs, SolarCity has predicted that within 5–10 years, it’ll be economical for the company to simply deploy a battery system by default with every solar energy system that it installs. A fairly bold prediction, but also one that clarifies that, as of right now, Tesla’s new battery system isn’t for everyone. Something to take note of.
Image Credit: SolarCity