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In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Tesla launches a new solar rental model, and the energy storage market for California’s major utilities continues at impressive deployment rates, especially in SDG&E territory.

Tesla launches a new monthly solar rental plan

After many months of declining solar installations, Tesla Solar seems to be taking a new tack when it comes to their residential solar business. Their new solar rental program is a variation on the traditional third-party ownership model that many large solar installation companies employ.

The Tesla solar rental program offers customers in six states–Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico–three, pre-set options for installing solar on their homes:

  • A small, 3.8 kilowatt (kW) installation for $50 per month;
  • A medium, 7.6 kW installation for $100 per month;
  • And a large, 11.4 kW installation for $150 per month (note these costs are higher for California residents). 

Time will tell if this new model helps Tesla’s declining solar business in the wake of their bailout of SolarCity. The exact economics of a solar rental are complicated and depend on a variety of factors, but as a general rule of thumb, lifetime savings likely won’t be able to rival those in a full solar panel ownership setup.

California residential storage continues to grow

According to a recent analysis of San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) storage data from the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), residential customers in SDG&E territory have installed just about 1 megawatt (MW) of storage each month over the past year and a half. Additionally, 99 percent of all storage installations in the utility territory were paired with solar panel systems.

Compared to the other large investor-owned utilities in California (SCE and PG&E), SDG&E has a much higher volume of storage deployed, despite the non-residential market declining slightly from peaks in 2017. What’s more, SDG&E customers have been 2x as likely to install storage since 2018 began when compared to the other two utilities.

All in all, SDG&E, and the state of California in general, continues to be a very strong energy storage market. The data used in CALSSA’s analyses are available from the California Distributed Generation downloads page.