For well over 30 years, solar power has tried to breakthrough into the mainstream as a viable power source. Over that time, it has been held back by two things. The first was the per watt costs were too high because either high efficiency panels were too expensive to mass produce or because less expensive alternatives have not produced at a high enough efficiency level to make them viable. The second has been that solar power doesn't have the ability to provide power 24 hours a day because of a lack of storage.
For the most part, the first problem has been dwindling away to the point that solar is starting to make sense even without subsidies, but an economical solution to provide adequate power storage has eluded solar panel makers and other alternative energy companies for quite some time.
This is what makes the recent announcement from SolarCity so significant. The company has announced that it will team up with Tesla and its advanced battery technology to offer commercial customers what it is calling the DemandLogic system. Think of it as an on site smart grid. By bundling on-site generated solar power with on-site energy storage, it provides extra power necessary during peak usage and can help provide power during the event of an outage. Like all of SolarCity's offerings to the public, there will be no up front costs and the company recovers the costs of the equipment and installation from long term power purchasing agreements and service contracts.
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