SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) is working on a system that would allow customers to generate power by panels during the daylight hours and store the energy in battery packs at night according to chief executive Lyndon Rive. Based in San Mateo, California, SolarCity would allow customers to get around a net metering arrange that most state utilities have in place.
The “meter” would track how much energy a customer uses and how much excess energy is sent back into the power grid. From there, customers would pay the utility for the electricity that they use over a year beyond the amount their solar systems generated. Customers would get credits for energy that they do not use, which would roll over month-to-month for up to a year in California.
?Smart storage is the biggest issue coming in the solar industry,? stated Run on Sun chief executive officer Jim Jenal in an interview with the L.A. Times. Jenal said that smart storage is “ridiculously expensive” right now, which is why there is a lot of research and VC money going into that market right now. Run on Sun is a solar installation company based in Pasadena, California.
Tesla Motors will work with SolarCity to test 8-kilowatt battery packs. Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is Rive’s cousin. Musk also sits on the board of directors at SolarCity. Rive said that the decline in battery prices means that SolarCity systems can include storage and they will still beat utility rates for customers in California and Hawaii.
SolarCity is going to test the battery packs at 100 different sites before the technology debuts in 2015.