US investment banking giant Morgan Stanley has predicted that big utility companies will have tough years ahead. Cause? Tesla and the increased availability of the solar roof.
The predictions were made in a series of three reports that were published during the past year. The first of them shows that in the foreseeable future, consumers may begin to leave the grid in favor of generating their own electricity.
The first report attributed this to the maturation of consumer solar products, as well as improved and cheaper battery products that can capture and store excess generated energy.
The other two reports, which were subsequently published, confirm previous predictions made in the first report, which was simply titled “Batteries and the Distributed General. Could be a negative for utilities.”
Morgan Stanley expects the cost of solar panels per watt to plummet, from ~$2.00 per watt to just $1.75 by 2018. This is partly due to the significant reduction in installation costs, especially due to the experience and scale of large enterprises. solar service providers such as SolarCity.
They also expect the upcoming Tesla GigaFactory project, which will revolutionize the production of high capacity batteries, will also have a profound impact on the costs associated with storing excess energy generated by solar power.
A major financial institution believes that we can all go offline in the next few years. But how will it happen?
Solar has a lot. This allows us to produce clean electricity using a source that is guaranteed to never run dry in our lifetime: the sun.
First, solar cells generate energy only during daylight hours. During the winter months, this means that electricity is not generated at peak times. It is usually around 5:30 when people leave their offices, return to their homes and turn on the lights when the daylight fades.
Which brings us to the next point. Retaining excess energy is incredibly difficult and expensive. This leaves consumers with two options. They can either sell excess electricity back to the grid or invest in batteries.
There are many products on the market that perform this task, but they are not cheap. They also need to be installed by a qualified technician, leading to further costs to the north.
As a result, solar energy has never replaced traditional methods of electricity generation. However, there are a number of upcoming breakthroughs that look set to change that.
Tesla made a big announcement this February: Gigafactory. This massive battery factory is joining forces between electric vehicle titan Elon Musk and Japanese electronics giant Panasonic.