Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Renewable energy makes strange bedfellows

Tesla Wants to Power Wal-Mart

by Dana Hull, Bloomberg

Tesla Motors Inc. is signing up big customers like Wal-Mart and Cargill, accelerating efforts to become a leader in energy storage -- a new market that’s poised to boost sales and profit at the electric vehicle pioneer.

Next week, Tesla will make a deeper push beyond the car business when it unveils batteries for homes and utilities.

A review of California’s Self Generation Incentive Program, or SGIP, shows Tesla has ambitions to sell batteries for a range of commercial uses, from powering its factories to reducing electric bills at schools and wineries. Tesla is on track to reap as much as $65 million in SGIP rebates, which are designed to encourage investment in alternative energy.

“Tesla has been able to install more than 100 projects, really without anyone noticing,” said Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co. She said Tesla’s energy storage business could be worth as much as $70 to Tesla’s stock. The shares rose 4.8 percent Wednesday to close at $219.44, the biggest daily gain in more than two weeks.

As a builder of electric cars, the company has a vested interest in making the electric grid as clean as possible. Customers typically buy the batteries to store energy from solar panels, using them when electricity from the grid is most expensive or the sun isn’t shining. With Tesla’s gigafactory for battery production under construction in Nevada, storage products could serve as a secondary revenue stream for the company, which is looking to diversify its product lineup.

(Continued here.)

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