The classic but often never mentioned battle of our time: Elon Musk vs. Warren Buffet. Two billionaire, inspirational public figures that seem odd to pitted against each other for the future of energy.
Approximately 3.8 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity are consumed in the United States alone every year. As technology has advanced so has our desire to power new devices: smartphones, TVs, speakers, etc., leading our electricity consumption to go up and up. Many have turned to renewable resources, such as solar and wind, as the best option to help meet our increasing power demands.
So here comes Elon Musk’s Tesla. Once upon a time, Tesla was viewed as an electric car company. Tesla is now making larger strides to be viewed as an energy conglomerate. On --- , Tesla unveiled Solar Roof Tops and the Powerwall 2, a giant rechargeable battery for the home.
Tesla’s Solar Roof Tops address two major problems – electricity bills and maintenance of roof tops, especially due to weather conditions. The basic idea is that the solar roof tops would power up your home during the day and the Powerwall would power your home at night. The Powerwall 2 has been given an upgrade of packing twice as much as it used to (14kWh vs 6.4kWh) or basically enough storage to charge the tesla electric cars along with powering a 4-bedroom house.
Elon also claims the roof tops are more durable than steel and would be cheaper than installing a normal roof. If Tesla’s new solar roof tops are immediately cheaper, then that’s an immediate plus. However, if we want to power our homes too, the answer is a little more complicated.
Let’s say we install the Solar Roof Tops and buy the Tesla Powerwall 2. If we never have to pay a utility bill again and paid for Tesla’s system less than what we would’ve paid in utilities, the choice seems pretty obvious. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Utility companies have monopolized many geographic regions of the United States. What does that mean? If they increase the size of your electric bills, there’s no other company to turn to. For example, if Verizon pisses you off, you can easily switch to T-Mobile or AT&T. If your utility company pisses you off, it can be impossible to turn to another simply because of where you live.
With solar rooftops gaining popularity, electric bills of consumers will drastically dip, causing a major concern among utility companies. So what have some of these companies done? Some companies, like Warren Buffet’s Nevada Energy, have decided to charge people more if they have solar rooftops because “solar customers aren’t paying their fair share.”
So let’s get this straight. People who pay to be more energy independent are “mooching” off utility companies, so the utility companies send them a higher electric bill. What the f***? The larger Powerwall 2 capacity is a step in the right direction to be totally independent of utility companies, but the reality is that the future of solar is mainly a political battleground.