Tesla Motors Inc.’s bid to buy the biggest U.S. rooftop solar installer has little to do with selling cars. Rather, it’s about solving two of the biggest problems standing in the way of the next solar boom. And perhaps a good deal more.
When Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk came out last week with his $2.86 billion plan to acquire SolarCity Inc., it was almost universally derided as a risky financial move that threatens to derail the electric car maker at its most critical moment.
That’s undoubtedly true. But in the dozens of analyst notes and news stories that picked apart the deal, there’s been little attention paid to what we’ll call “Tesla Solar” and how it could transform the power sector. It’s actually a really big idea.
Solar Problem No. 1: It’s too complicated
Consider the average homeowner who might be vaguely interested in adding rooftop solar. Where does the process start?
In the eastern Australian state of Queensland, developers plans to transform a disused gold mine into a 450-MW pumped-hydro storage facility at a fraction of the cost typically associated with pumped-hydro projects.
Hydroelectric power developer Snowdonia Pumped Hydro has withdrawn its application for environmental permits for the 99.9-MW Glyn Rhonwy pumped-storage plant from Natural Resources Wales.