Clark Howard: Tesla’s batteries help level the field

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Elon Musk recently announced new home and business batteries from Tesla starting at $3,000.

I am excited about this idea. The power business has been an inefficient monopoly that is going to change radically.
We pay huge amounts for power because of what is known as peak load. As an example, during the summer on hot days, power consumption skyrockets. The cost of power at wholesale jumps by thousands of percent when demand peaks. That cost is passed on to you and me.

Now the Tesla people have come up with a simple and affordable way for homeowners, businesses, the military and power companies to dramatically lower what we pay for power. The possibilities are way beyond what I will throw out, but here are some examples.

People who live in rural areas may be able to live without a power company by using solar or wind matched with battery packs like the ones from Tesla. When the sun is bright or the wind is strong, most systems generate more power than is needed at the time. That extra is stored by the battery pack to be used when the sun goes down or the wind dies down.

A homeowner, business, factory, hospital or school can have a battery pack as back-up power when the power goes down. If the battery pack is combined with solar, then the need for power falls big time.

You may wonder what that has to do with you and me: It is huge. If a power company has no way to store power and add it when needed, then much of the wind or sun power may just go to waste.

The Tesla breakthrough is in the price. The systems are cheap enough that it will just make sense for people and businesses to install the battery packs.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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