David R. Baker, SFGATE.COM
For more than two years, SolarCity Corp. has been trying to launch an experiment that could change the way we power our homes.
The San Mateo company has installed battery packs in more than 100 houses throughout California, each pack linked to rooftop solar panels. The lithium-ion batteries, made by Tesla Motors, store electricity from the panels during the day for use at night.
That combination – solar on the roof, batteries in the basement – could one day revolutionize the energy industry, undercutting traditional utility companies.
So the utilities, SolarCity says, are fighting back.
California’s big electricity providers are dragging their feet on connecting the batteries to the grid and charging steep fees – nearly $3,700 per customer, in some cases – to do so, according to SolarCity.