Skip to main content

Elon Musk Says More Tesla Solar & Batteries Are Needed In California Amid Record Heat Wave & Power Outages

California is currently experiencing record heat waves and a record electricity demand with authorities warning residents to prepare for rolling blackout. And in response, Elon Musk says the state needs more solar panels & stationary batteries to deal with the current situation.

Elon Musk is famous for his lofty goal of transitioning the world to sustainable energy. Musk believes in this idea so deeply, that he has made it the mission statement of the electric vehicle company he runs, Tesla.

To achieve this goal, Musk obviously believes EVs are essential. However, Elon also knows EVs are ultimately as clean as the grid they get their power from. And to address this issue, Tesla offers solar products and batteries.

Currently, Tesla sells solar panels that could be added to an existing roof or roof tiles with integrated photovoltaic cells. Since the sun doesn’t shine throughout the night, Tesla also offers stationary batteries to store the sun’s power when there is excess production and to deploy it back when it is needed.

Related news: Tesla Is Reportedly Tendering for Contracts of 2nd Gigafactory in Shanghai

Elon Musk has said in the past “Solar power is a Gigawatt per square km! All you need is a 100 by 100-mile patch in a deserted corner of Arizona, Texas, or Utah (or anywhere) to more than power the entire USA.”

Musk’s assertion has been questioned for its practicality nonetheless it leaves no doubt that Musk thinks solar panels are the way forward for a clean power grid.

And today, Musk has once again reiterated his belief that more solar panels and stationary storage batteries are needed as California is facing power outages due to record heat waves affecting the state.

According to Bloomberg “power use in California surged to an all-time high as officials warn residents to prepare for rolling blackouts Tuesday evening amid a blistering heat wave.”.

“Electricity use reached 50.6 gigawatts at 3:15 p.m. local time, according to the state’s grid operator, surpassing the previous record set in 2006. The surge in demand comes amid a punishing and lengthy heat wave that has sent temperatures soaring past 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius), prompting officials to plead for conservation and warn rolling outages may be necessary to prevent the system from overloading.”

And in response to the situation in California Elon Musk says “more solar + batteries needed. Batteries are great at dealing with peak demand.”

Musk’s statement comes at the heels of Tesla energy starting a pilot program together with the largest power utility in California to support the state’s electricity grid. In an introduction to the pilot program, Tesla wrote “participate in the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot offered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and support the grid while also earning compensation and maintaining your energy security.”

“Become a part of the largest distributed battery in the world and help keep California’s energy clean and reliable. Opt-in to the Tesla Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with PG&E and your Powerwall will be dispatched when the grid needs emergency support. Through the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) pilot, you will receive $2 for every additional kWh your Powerwall delivers during an event.”

Given Tesla is only pilot testing the virtual power plant in California, it will likely not be enough to stop blackouts this season. However, in the long run, Tesla’s distributed Powerwalls, large utility-scale Powerpacks & Megapacks, coupled with the EV maker’s solar panels & solar roofs should be able to deal with any surge in electricity demand.

As of now though it doesn’t seem Tesla’s energy products will be able to save California from rolling blackouts amid this heat. However, we will be sure to keep you posted regarding Tesla Energy’s involvement in the current crisis.

Until then, make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Do you agree with Musk that more solar and batteries are needed to help the grid situation in California? Also, what do you think Tesla’s role in producing and distributing energy will be in the long run? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

For more information check out: Is There Really a 430 Mile Range Model 3 Battery?

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.