Don’t have $13K to pony up for a Tesla home battery? It may lease them instead

Tesla Solar City
Though the U.S. installed 30 percent more solar photovoltaics in 2014 than it did in the previous year, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, they still only account for 0.4 percent of electricity generated in the United States. Part of the problem is the current state of battery technology, which makes storing electricity generated by renewable energy sources a problem. With Tesla’s upcoming April 30 announcement, the company is expected to introduce a battery that will help homeowners store 10- to 15-kilowatt-hours of energy.

Solar panels absorb light during the day, and power companies buy the excess from homeowners with panels who have no way to store it. But that means that nighttime energy use has to come from another source, typically whatever the local power company uses: nuclear, coal, hydro, etc. A battery that could store the energy the photovoltaics capture during the day would improve the cost-benefit analysis of installing the panels for a typical U.S. home, which uses around 30-kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. While the price of solar energy systems dropped between 12 and 15 percent in 2013, there’s still a ways to go before meeting the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative’s goal of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour for total installation cost.

 Related: Google sees ride sharing, solar power in the future of its self driving car

While the details of the Tesla announcement are still under wraps, the $13,000 batteries may actually be available for lease instead of purchase, according to The Guardian, who got the information from investment analyst Trip Chowdhry. Three-hundred customers of SolarCity, a company of which Tesla CEO Elon Musk is chairman and in which he holds a stake, were able to lease batteries with a 50-percent rebate, thanks to Pacific Gas & Electric. Following a $1,500 initial payment, customers would make $15 monthly payments for 10 years before returning the battery to SolarCity.

Whether or not Tesla decides to stick with this leasing plan when it rolls out the home battery to a wider audience remains to be seen. Stay tuned for more details when the company makes its announcement April 30.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Gaming

Have an issue with your 3DS? We can help you fix it with these common solutions

The Nintendo 3DS has seen its fair share of issues since it launched in 2011, including poor battery life and fragile Circle Pads. Here are some of the most common, as well as the steps you can take to solve them.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Cars

Mustang-like and electrified. What did Ford just show a preview of?

Ford posted an enigmatic picture of a blue Mustang emblem on a black background right as Tesla prepared to introduce the Model Y. Is the Blue Oval teasing a hybrid Mustang, or is it previewing a Mustang-inspired, battery-powered crossover?
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Smart Home

Viral porch pirate videos freak people out, cause unrealistic concern

Viral porch pirate videos convince others crime is more prevalent than facts indicate. According to polls, even though FBI reports show property crime rates are at historic lows, more people worry about crime today than ever before.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Deals

Amazon slashes $77 off the iRobot Roomba 690 multisurface robot vacuum

This special offer comes just in time for you to get a head start on spring cleaning. The Roomba 690 robot vacuum sucks up dust, dirt and pet hair — all while you're away at the office.
Smart Home

Get sweaty with the best smart home fitness gadgets on the market

Are you looking for smart fitness devices that will really help your workouts, no matter where you like to exercise? These smart home gadgets are designed to help you analyze your workouts and keep track of how you are doing.
Smart Home

Our favorite coffee makers make flavorful cups of joe from the comforts of home

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.