Utility Monopolies Threatened

elon musk
Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk with the company’s Powerpack, a larger version of its Powerwall intended for commercial use.

“There is a rapidly diminishing window in Florida before the Legislature passes anti-solar laws.”–Tom Lane, in today’s Gainesville Sun.  Mr. Lane also says the utility companies are paying the “… legislators  to put major burdens on homeowners and small businesses who want to sell power back to the utility company.”

Read this revealing article by Tom Lane in the Sun at this link, or continue reading here.Scroll

Tom Lane: New technology disrupting utility monopolies

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk with the company’s Powerpack, a larger version of its Powerwall intended for commercial use.

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

By Tom Lane
Special to The Sun

Published: Saturday, December 26, 2015 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 11:18 a.m.

Wall Street analysts are calling 2015 the year that the utility model for monopolizing power production and distribution has been changed forever. Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla Motors, is ushering in a new age of how we will interact with utility power.

Tesla’s Powerwall high-voltage batteries will have a major impact on utilities, homeowners, churches and businesses with and without solar power. Tesla and Panasonic are building a “giga-factory” in Nevada that next summer will dramatically increase the present California production facility. Musk is also building a billion-dollar solar panel manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York.

Tesla will be using a high-voltage lithium-ion battery for its Powerwall, which is similar to the one Tesla uses in cars. These Tesla Powerwalls can be used with or without solar power. They can be used by utility companies for backup power. When used in big battery “farms” this would eliminate peak power plants, the expensive power plants used by utilities only when grid demand peaks such as a hot summer afternoon. This should dramatically lower the public’s utility bills.

The Tesla Powerwall is also a welcome protection for churches, businesses and homeowners against exorbitant utility time-of-day and demand charges. Time-of-day charges are often ways to charge customers more for power usage during a certain time of day. The Powerwall will store power at night when time-of-day charges are cheap, allowing power to be re-used during daytime hours to eliminate high time-of-day charging.

Demand charges are when utilities have a special charge for the highest 15 minutes of power used at any time during the month. I have seen local churches that have a $700 monthly demand charge with only a $165 electric bill for actual power used! The Powerwall would eliminate this grossly excessive utility bill.

Utilities are installing massive megawatt solar farms to sell you power. At the same time, they are paying legislators to put major burdens on homeowners and small businesses who want to sell power back to the utility company. There is a rapidly diminishing window in Florida before the Legislature passes anti-solar laws.

The Powerwall will also enable people to use all their solar power without sharing any of their power with the utility grid and without requiring permission from the utility. Powerwalls can also charge electric cars with a patent that Musk made publicly available.

Powerwalls are expected to be available next summer from the Nevada plant. If you purchase a solar system in 2016, you should be asking if it can seamlessly integrate with the Tesla Powerwalls.

Due to solar energy costs having dropped over 80 percent in the last 10 years, utilities are calling solar energy a “disruptive force.” The utilities realize the real disruptive force will be the new high-voltage battery systems, which will force utilities to change their business model from the current system of centralized power generation and distribution to sharing the grid with other competitors.

— Tom Lane is president of ECS Solar Energy Systems of Gainesville.

2 Comments

  1. How many of you remember the quickly voted in the night we were at the Columbia County Commission meeting concerning SOLAR POWER PANEL set back or some such stuff. I wanted to understand it more but was concerned so much about the chicken factory I didn’t catch it all. I could tell by the way it was proposed and voted in so damn quickly it had to be paid by power company.
    Be very cautious of that commission they are all so crooked.
    Barney Williams

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