Navigant’s William Tokash envisions the possibilities with the proposed SolarCity-Tesla merger:
A key aspect of technology innovation in renewable energy has been financing innovation. The development of power purchase agreement financing has been instrumental in the growth of solar PV. Navigant Research believes that financing innovation will also drive energy storage markets over time, as well. But the new Tesla could be uniquely positioned to apply financing innovation to an integrated solar battery PEV-based VPP [virtual power plant] while also providing consumers with the use of the vehicle. Imagine a homeowner entering into a 15-year financing agreement for solar, energy storage, and use of a Tesla Model 3 under a single contract. In this scenario, the new Tesla/utility partner manages the VPP asset while the customer gets access to, but not ownership of, a Tesla Model 3.
This financing arrangement could spark a real breakthrough in deploying more clean technologies. The issue for climate and clean tech, as Jigar Shah recently wrote to Bill Gates, is less about technology innovation at this point and more about how we actually start getting these technologies financed and built.
The proposed merger could get us farther down that road than we’ve been before, at least for home and business solar+storage, coupled with EVs in the garage.