SolarCity Stands Off With California Utilities Over Energy Future

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

SolarCity¬†(NASDAQ:SCTY)¬†has halted the process of installing and connecting solar systems which include batteries allowing power storage because California utility companies are unwilling to link the systems to the grid. It’s now been more than a year since the utilities started refusing grid connections to battery-connected solar systems.

The new systems, which SolarCity has been testing, contain batteries that retain energy generated by the photovoltaic solar panels and is stored for use when the sun isn’t shining. Adding storage capability to the solar energy systems makes customers much less reliant on the conventional electric energy grid on overcast days. It’s possible that utilities in California feel threatened by the newer systems and are thus reluctant to connect the systems to the grid.

SolarCity currently has about 500 interested customers in California, but just a dozen of those customers have battery systems that have been connected to the grid, according to a report by Gigaom.

ValueWalk reports that the California Public Utilities Commission has promoted a ruling to resolve the issue, but SolarCity says it’s tired of waiting around. “We’ve stopped submitting applications because we’ve lost faith that these things are actually going to be carried out in any reasonable time,” Will Craven, a spokesperson for SolarCity, told Bloomberg. “The ones we’ve submitted haven’t gone anywhere,” he added, saying that utilities require a series of different applications and fees, which makes the process of connecting the systems to the grid incredibly arduous. Application fees can run as high as $4,000 per customer, according to Gigaom.

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