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Is Tesla planning to enter the power plant industry?

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by jdevo2004, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. jdevo2004

    jdevo2004 Member

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    I am thinking that now that Solar City is part of Tesla we could see a team at Tesla exclusively focused on the design and sale of fully integrated solar power plants to utilities and governments to directly compete against Coal/Gas/Nuclear/Hyrdo power plants.
    I would bet that Tesla will design some small flexible 100MW to 500MW power plant solutions with off the shelf Tesla solar panels and batteries that could be deployed and built in under 1 year if the land is available.
    Of course I am not a power plant design engineer, however the smart people at Tesla could probably easily come up with the right number of solar panels and batteries to provide an extremely reliable source of energy no matter what climate.

    Obviously these type of plants would probably roll out in sunny parts of the world first but the fact that Tesla now has the opportunity to directly compete with huge power plant manufacturers opens an extremely lucrative new market. It is going to be very hard for a electric utility provider or government to ignore a Tesla power plant bid that could supply a reliable green energy electric plant at the same cost or less than a dirty coal plant or dangerous nuclear plant and be built in a fraction of the time.

    Some quck and dirtly calculations for a 100MW Tesla plant using 200MW of solar and 200MW of batteries:

    Solar panels: 200,000,000 watts @ 0.55 cents per watt = $110,000,000
    Batteries: 200,000KW @ $150 per Kw = $30,000,000
    Infrastructure: $60,000,000

    Total: $200,000,000

    Are my numbers off? Doesn't matter, it is the discussion that counts.
     
  2. LakeForest

    LakeForest Member

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    You defineley need to add a line item for inverters which at this point are a huge price to both storage and solar...they're price curves haven't been quite as aggressive and are starting to make up a greater % of overall system cost. Bi-directional inverters, needed for storage, are especially expensive, ~500k/ MW. Would be interesting if you could never have a net power backflow w/ both sources on a DC bus for cost savings, though could limit grid services ability (frequency regulation) which currently can be very attractive for projects like this. See Storing The Sun’s Energy Just Got A Whole Lot Cheaper
     
  3. jdevo2004

    jdevo2004 Member

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  4. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    In the medium term I think Musk wants to do two things:
    1) Keep Panasonic continuously building out cell capacity.
    2) Make sure 17,000 solarcity employees are involved in profitable activity

    Most places don't need storage with solar today. Installing utility scale solar is pretty much a straightforward light construction project with modest margins.
     
  5. TheTalkingMule

    TheTalkingMule Active Member

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    It's a mistake to try and force Tesla Energy into the old dynamic, the new reality is far different and not constrained by the limitations of centralized production. Why would Tesla need to build a solar power plant when citizens are already willing to handle it for them? Tesla's(formerly SolarCity's) role will be to aggregate all that excess rooftop solar energy supply and sell on the open market it as if they were one big power plant.
     
  6. Sodamo

    Sodamo Retired and busy :)

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    #6 Sodamo, Nov 7, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
    I could see where there could be an arrangement with a builder/developer to build out a subdivision away from the grid with a common ownership of the power generation locked into and management by SolarCity long term with residents paying to SolarCity.
     
  7. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    The sticky point will be which entity is selling the power. Setting up a non-profit HOA-like entity to own the assets and sell the power to homeowners would be a nearly prohibitively complicated thing to set up in most states due to laws and regulations governing electric utilities. It's a great idea, but not something I would attempt without doing A LOT of homework first.
     
  8. Sodamo

    Sodamo Retired and busy :)

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    Agreed, which is why I suspect the individuals would maintain a common ownership, but the management outsourced.
     
  9. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I think the way to set up the neighborhood with the least friction is to have a system of distributed batteries and solar owned and placed on-site by homeowners and have the Association just provide some micro-grid balancing and owning the wires connecting the properties together. A fixed monthly fee for services and capital payback would be easy to set up. Reconciling net usage among homeowners could be trickier to legally establish. Maybe an abstraction of the energy production into renting solar panels in the common area that generated the power you needed during the month could be used.
     
  10. Sodamo

    Sodamo Retired and busy :)

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    One approach, assuming the new solar roof technology, every house has a total solar roof. Hopefully enough knowledge would be available to accurately predict the daily/monthly/annual production for a particular house based on size/location/etc. Max power consumption would be limited to a percentage of that capability. Storage could either be totally centrallized or not depending on the size, some predetermined ratio of PV to Powerpacks likely similar to how houses hook up to transformers now. Solar City would be contracted not as the Utility, but rather as maintainer of equipment.
     
  11. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    At least for California, I think the low hanging fruit for a Solar City/Tesla combination would be to aggregate storage capacity and compete with Peaker Plants. There is already a Tesla/Irvine Company project in Orange County that is doing that without solar for some high rise buildings. Batteries offer quicker response times, and are clearly much less polluting than Peakers.
     
  12. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    It'd sure be nice to be able to ignore a rolling blackout because your building has battery backup that lasts long enough for it to roll by.
     
  13. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    I think in California the battery systems can pay for themselves purely based on reduction of demand charges and reductions in energy charges during Peak Day Pricing events. My small office is on a PDP rate schedule and we pay $1.20/kWh from 2pm-6pm on those event days.
     
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  14. winfield100

    winfield100 Member

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  15. Ampster

    Ampster Member

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    Wow I had not heard of Peak Day Pricing until now. There must be some advantage to go on that kind of plan. I don't think SCE has that plan but large commercial and industrial users pay a demand charge and maybe PG&E has that as well. Some of Tesla's large installations are being used to eliminate the spikes that get them a higher demand charge.
     
  16. miimura

    miimura Active Member

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    Yes, it pretty much balances out because you get a slightly lower $/kWh rate for the entire rest of the year and there is a limit to (IIRC) 19 Event Days per year. The first year on this forced plan, you have price protection. They calculate your bill with the Peak Day Pricing and you pay that. Then at the end of the first year, they calculate it on the schedule without the Peak Days and if that is less, you get a refund. Anyway, at my office, pretty much the only thing we can do is lower the AirCon temp down to 68F starting from 8am, then at 2pm, turn it up to something like 80F. Usually, we can coast through until 6pm before it hits 80 inside.

    The PDP credit is -$0.00915/kWh for non-event hours. Sorry, I exaggerated a bit. The price during event hours is $0.60/kWh, not $1.20/kWh. Non event hours are TOU with various prices between $0.196 and $0.260/kWh.

    Demand charges are present in PG&E commercial rate plans applicable to accounts over 75kW demand or over 150,000 kWh/year. You get kicked out of the "Small General Service" tier if you exceed 75kW for 3 consecutive months in the last 12 months, evaluated annually.
     
  17. jdevo2004

    jdevo2004 Member

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  18. winfield100

    winfield100 Member

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  19. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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  20. Sodamo

    Sodamo Retired and busy :)

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    Quite informative slide show. Thanks
     

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