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Tesla Buying Solar City—What it Says about Where Solar Power is Headed

Elon Musk is Tesla and Ford Rolled into One

A lot of financial analysts have been weighing in about Tesla’s recent acquisition of Solar City, one of the biggest US solar energy companies. Some say it’s a good move, others that’s it’s not, and still others have mixed opinions on the subject.

Elon Musk, of course, has always been a risk taker. Others have talked about building better electric cars—in terms of faster speed, more powerful batteries, and much more attractive design. Musk and his team went out and did it. If his car is actually the wave of the future, as some predict, the jury is still out as far as mass deployment with a price tag still out of most people’s reach. But the same was true about the gasoline powered car—until Mr. Ford came along. Could Musk be Tesla—the innovative electrical genius to whom his company name pays homage—and Ford all wrapped into one? Anyone too quick to answer in the negative should look long and hard at what Musk has achieved in a few short years.

In terms of the purchase of Solar City, what has been little discussed is what this points to for the solar industry. As the CEO of eNow, a company that produces solar panels for the transportation industry, I see a trend here in Musk’s move that is greatly encouraging. Solar City is focused on solar panels for homes and businesses while Musk makes electric cars. What’s the connection? Cross pollination, if you will, as solar panels used to power homes and buildings can also charge those Tesla car batteries.

Expect to see more and more of this. Homeowners who use solar panels often sell back power they don’t use to the utility company. Now they have the option to use that extra stored energy to power their electric vehicles. There will likely be more such collaborations between various renewable energy sources—solar, wind, water, and electrical. An electric car powered in part by solar panels? Why not? It’s already happening with trucks, RVs and buses. The price of oil continues to go up, while Tesla’s cars and solar solutions come down in price. The future is already here and it’s looking cleaner and greener all the time.

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