SolarCity to back up solar with Tesla batteries

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Associated Press

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 12:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 12:02 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The solar panel installer SolarCity is beginning to address one of solar power's big drawbacks: The sun doesn't always shine.

The solution: big battery packs. The supplier: electric car maker Tesla Motors, whose CEO is also the chairman of SolarCity.

The battery packs will allow customers a way to provide backup power and lower electric bills.

The batteries will be offered first to commercial customers because of the way many commercial electric bills are calculated. SolarCity is also conducting a pilot program in California for homeowners, but because residential bills are calculated differently — and the batteries are expensive — it could be years before batteries make financial sense for homes.

SolarCity won't charge customers for the battery, but will instead offer it as a service for a monthly fee.

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