Sunday, October 30, 2016
Tesla has a perfect demonstration project for their cooperation with utilities right in their back yard. There is a fallow suburban solar farm in West San Jose, Santa Clara, and Cupertino that is waiting to be developed.
The area was developed as single family large homes in the 1950s and most of the homes are oriented east-west with large south facing pitched roofs many of which are in need of new roofing. All are grid connected and there are several PG&E substations that can site industrial Powerpack load management systems to deal with the solar hockey stick in the evening.
Tesla should combine with PG&E to offer free south roof replacement using the just announced attractive solar tiles. Each roof would generate a large excess of peak power 263 (average per year) sunny days even if the homeowner is given free power in exchange for the roof easement. Tesla and PG&E might also consider offering a Powerwall 2 to each homeowner to provide distributed management of the hockey stick peak reducing the distribution losses. Off peak power and weather backup would still be provided by PG&E from current wind and conventional generation.
The whole project could be phased in as tiles become available on a worst roof first basis, with early load managed installations heavily advertised by both Tesla and PG&E to build local and remote demand. Note that as demand builds at any time the free could become reduced cost roofing replacement.
A suburban solar farm has none of the environmental, visual, and distribution issues of a remote solar installation, and the maintenance infrastructure is already in place.
Update: According to the recent pricing annoucement of $25-35K with powerwall storage and energy management system for a full roof solar system the system in West San Jose would not only provide free power for the life of the system but on sunny days would produce excess power in large quantities during the peak hours when commercial AC demand is highest. Solar city could contract with the homeowner to purchase that excess power and resell it to PG&E providing another income stream for the homeowner. Assuming the powerwall system could be managed to feed power into the system in the evening without jeopardizing night and rainy day reserves, still another revenue stream would be available to the homeowner through Solar City. Elon Musk could now say "Not only will your roof look better, last longer, and power your house, it will also provide a revenue stream to help with other household expenses. Why would you choose any other replacement roofing? In West San Jose the payback might be short enough that replacing a slightly worn roof might be an attractive investment.
Disclaimer: I am a minor stockholder in Tesla and Solar City and am not a candidate for the program as I already have solar power.