SolarCity Corp., the biggest developer of U.S. rooftop solar panels, halted efforts to install and connect systems that include batteries for power storage because California’s utilities are reluctant to link them to the electric grid.
About 500 SolarCity customers in the region have agreed to use the systems, and the state’s three biggest utilities have connected 12 of them since 2011, said Will Craven, a spokesman for San Mateo, California-based SolarCity.
SolarCity is testing the units with photovoltaic panels to generate power and batteries that retain that energy for use when the sun isn’t shining. The combination makes customers less dependent on local utilities. It may be a threat to the business model that’s underpinned the power industry for a century.
“We’ve stopped submitting applications because we’ve lost faith that these things are actually going to be carried out in any reasonable time,” Craven said in a phone interview.
The utilities require a series of applications and fees that Craven said makes the process too onerous. SolarCity has installed a total of 65 of the systems in areas overseen by PG&E Corp., Edison International’s Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric.